John Maier is a chemist distinguished for his contributions to the development of state-of-the-art spectroscopic techniques. These techniques can be used to detect and study the structure of objects such as charged atoms and compounds with long chains of carbon. They permit the structure of single atoms as well as large molecules to be investigated.
Different materials produce signature spectroscopic signals. John is revered for his pioneering techniques that opened the door to detecting different particles at a time when the signal of very few objects was known. A particularly exciting application of his work was the study long carbon chains, where his results overturned previous thinking about the conditions of interstellar space.
John is currently Chair of Physical Chemistry at the University of Basel, where he leads the Maier Group who strive to determine the properties of important carbon-containing compounds. He has published around 470 articles and has won awards including the SASP Erwin Schrödinger Gold Medal in 2012.