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Biographical Memoirs, Volume 88
HERBERT SANDER GUTOWSKY
NOVEMBER 8, 1919–JANUARY 13, 2000
BY JIRI JONAS AND CHARLES P. SLICHTER
HERBERT SANDER GUTOWSKY and his students and collaborators made fundamental, pioneering discoveries in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). Their discoveries firmly established NMR as a major experimental tool in chemistry. Furthermore, Herb Gutowsky realized as early as 1950 that NMR would have a major impact in solving a wide range of structural and dynamics problems in chemistry, biochemistry, and material science. Indeed, many of the subfields of modern NMR spectroscopy can be traced to the original work by Gutowsky and coworkers.
Four areas of investigation of seminal importance for the development of NMR characterize Gutowsky’s early work: (1) application of NMR to the study of the structure and motion in solids; (2) elucidation of the origin of chemical shifts; (3) observation of spin-spin couplings between nuclei in molecular liquids; and (4) use of NMR to study chemical exchange and molecular conformational changes.
In particular, the discovery of chemical shifts and spin-spin splitting, established the foundations of the vast field of high-resolution NMR spectroscopy, which developed into an indispensable tool for the determination of chemical, biochemical, and biological molecular structures. Early studies