Ilya Prigogine is awarded the 1977 Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for his contributions to non-equilibrium thermodynamics, particularly the theory of dissipative structures". He has studied chemical processes that are “irreversible” according to thermodynamics. This is true for must natural processes, like cooking and baking, as well as electrical and thermal ones. Prigogine overcame restrictions in the theory of such processes, which is important for understanding life and its origin and evolution.
llya Romanovich Prigogine is born into a Jewish family in Moscow. His father is a chemical engineer.
In 1962 he becomes director of the International Solvay Institute of Physics and Chemistry. He also starts teaching at the University of Texas at Austin (USA). He later co-founds the the Center for Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics, now the Center for Complex Quantum Systems.
Prigogine dies in Brussels.
His parents are critical of the new Soviet System, and so the family flees their homeland in 1921, four years after the Communist Revolution. The family first lives in Germany and finally settles in Belgium in 1929. Ilya attends secondary school there.
He continues working at Brussels. In 1947 he is appointed professor. After a temporal affiliation with the University of Texas, he returns to Belgium in 1967, where he becomes director of the Center for Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics.
Ilya Prigogine has many interests like history, archaeology and music, especially piano. He chooses to study chemistry at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, and after gaining his BSc in 1938 he obtains his doctorate in Physical Chemistry in 1941.
Prof. Prigogine attends the Lindau Meeting in 1980, 1986 and 1995.