Awardee Interviews | Biography: Daniel Auerbach

Daniel Auerbach

daniel-auerbach-2008.jpgDr. Daniel Auerbach, GRT, Inc., “for contributions to the understanding of the dynamics of gas-surface interactions using molecular beam scattering techniques.”

Daniel Auerbach is currently Chief Technology Officer of GRT Inc., a small Santa Barbara based company working on technology for the conversion of natural gas into liquid fuels and high value chemicals. GRT is particularly interested in developing technology to deal with “stranded gas”, i.e. gas that is too remote from natural gas markets or is present in fields that are too small for conventional technologies to be economically viable. Before joining GRT, Auerbach worked for many years in the microelectronics and computer industry, initially for IBM and later for Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. At IBM Auerbach served for 10 years as Department Group Manager of the Science and Technology Department the IBM Almaden Research Center. This department made many important contributions to science and to IBM technology, including the first fabrication of structures by manipulation of individual atoms, broad ranging contributions to surface science and particularly chemical dynamics at surfaces, the development of the loosely coupled parallel computer paradigm and the first application to molecular dynamics simulations, record holding high temperature superconductors, development of the first giant magneto resistance (GMR) sensor for HDD applications, and development of resists and other key materials for microelectronics applications. When IBM sold its hard disk drive (HDD) business to Hitachi, Auerbach joined the new venture. There, his primary responsibilities included research in hard disk drive architecture, signal processing and data integrity, and application of the HDDs in new areas such as consumer electronics. Auerbach holds a Ph.D. degree in Physics from the University of Chicago. Before joining IBM in 1978, he served on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University. He is known world wide for his scientific research in the area of surface science and chemical dynamics. Auerbach is perhaps best known as a pioneer in the application of molecular-beam and laser-spectroscopic techniques to understanding of the microscopic details of chemical dynamics at surfaces. His research interests also include information storage systems, the design of parallel computers, and chemical dynamics.

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