Professor Michael Grätzel was born in Dorfchemnitz, Saxony, Germany in 1944. He received his Diploma from the Free University of Berlin in 1968 and his Doctoral degree in Natural Sciences from the Technical University of Berlin in 1970, where he conducted his research under Professor Amim Hrnglein at the Hahn Meitner Institute for Nuclear Sciences. He spent the following two years as a post-doctoral fellow at the Radiation Laboratory in the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, U.S.A. In 1976, he obtained Habilitation/Privat Dozent at the Free University of Berlin.
Professor Grätzel is currently Professor at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and Director of the Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces and a Distinguished Scientist at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He was also Mary Upton Visiting Professor at Cornell University, Distinguished Visiting Professor at the National University of Singapore, Invited Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, the École normale supérieure de Cachan (Paris) and Delft University of Technology.
Professor Grätzel pioneered the research on energy and electron transfer reactions in mesoscopic-materials and their optoelectronic applications. His foundational and practical discoveries have had and will continue to have a major impact on the practical realization of solar-energy conversion. He discovered a new type of solar cells based on dye sensitized nanocrystalline oxide films. These world-famous Grätzel solar cells, as they are called, are simple and relatively inexpensive to manufacture, while possessing unique practical properties including flexibility and transparency.
Professor Grätzel’s ground breaking contributions have earned him worldwide recognition and numerous awards and honors, including the Balzan Prize, the Galvani Medal, Gerischer Award, Dutch Havinga Award and Medal, International Prize of the Japanese Society of Coordination Chemistry, ENI-Italgas Energy Prize, the Europeanl Grand Prix of Innovation, Faraday Medal of the British Royal Society, the Marcel Benoist Prize, Albert Einstein World Award of Science, Gutenberg Research Award, Paul Karrer Gold Medal, McKinsey Venture Award (Twice), and the Millennium Technology Grand Prize. In addition, he received honorary doctorate degrees from 10 universities, namely the University of Leige and Hasselt University in Belgium, Rskilde University in Denmark, Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, Nangyang Technical University in Singapore, Lund University and Uppsala University in Sweden, the University of Nova Gorica in Slovenia Delft University of Technology in the Netherland and Turin University in Italy. In 2009, he was named a Distinguished Honorary Professor by the Chinese Academy of Science (Changchun) and the Huazhong University of Science and Technology. He is a Member of the Swiss Chemical Society and the European Academy of Science, Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and elected Honorary Member of the Societe Vaudoise des Sciences and the Bulgarian Academy of Science. He is also a frequent guest scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado and a Fellow of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, in addition to invited lectureships and editorships.
With more than 1200 publications, two books, over 60 inventions, a Hirsch-Index of 163 and about 120,000 total citations, Professor Grätzel ranks as one of the 10 most cited chemists in the World.
He was awarded the King Faisal International Prize in Science for his foundational and practical discoveries in the development of photo-electrochemical systems for solar energy conversion. His world-famous Grätzel solar cells are simple and relatively inexpensive to manufacture, and they possess unique practical properties including flexibility and transparency. Professor Grätzel’s work has had and will continue to have a major impact on the practical realization of solar-energy conversion.