Richard Zare
  • 2005 Wolf Prize in Chemistry


Pioneer in the use of lasers to study chemical reactions at the molecular level. In 2005, Zare was awarded Wolf Prize in Chemistry “for his ingenious applications of laser techniques, for identifying complex mechanisms in molecules, and their use in analytical chemistry”.

Education and Work Experience

1977-Present, Professor of Department of Chemistry, Stanford University
1987-Present, Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor in Natural Science, Stanford University
1992-Present, Professor of Physics, Stanford University
2014-Present, Member of Board of Trustees Committee, Stanford University

Honors and Awards

1983, National Medal of Science
2005, Wolf Prize in Chemistry
2011, King Faisal Prize
2012, International Science and Technology Cooperation Award, China

Major Academic Achievements

Zare is well known for his research in laser chemistry, particularly the development of laser-induced fluorescence, which he has used to study reaction dynamics and
analytical detection methods. His research on the spectroscopy of chemical compounds suggested a new mechanism for energy transference in inelastic collisions. He and his students have developed tools and techniques to examine chemical reactions at the molecular and nanoscale levels. They have explored a wide-ranging variety of problems in physical chemistry and chemical analysis including examination of heterogeneous structures in mineral samples, the contents of cells and subcellular compartments, and
the chemical analysis of liquid samples. Zare has also worked with NASA and others on astrobiology.