Faculty & Research > Faculty > Eric Herbst


Eric Herbst

Commonwealth Professor in the Departments of Chemistry, Astronomy, and Physics

Room 152, Chemistry Building
(434) 243-0535

A.B. University of Rochester, 1966

Ph.D. Harvard University, 1972

Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University and Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics, University of Colorado

Professor Herbst’s major research field lies in the interdisciplinary area of molecular astronomy, which is the study of molecules throughout the universe, especially in regions in between stars known as interstellar clouds. These objects eventually collapse to form new generations of stars and planetary systems, so the molecules found in interstellar clouds are related to the molecules found in planets such as our own. Herbst is specifically interested in the chemical processes by which molecules grow, in using these chemical processes to predict the actual concentrations of molecules, and in the role of molecules in the understanding of their physical environments. His research was featured in Chemical and Engineering News, the popular journal of the American Chemical Society.

Below are pictures of two astronomical objects where molecules are found
On the right is a nebula of gas and dust surrounding an old star. It is known as the “red rectangle.” nebula around star
Below is an interstellar cloud so dense that no light can pass through it.
dense interstellar cloud

Recent Publications

Reactive Desorption and Radiative Association as Possible Drivers of Complex Molecule Formation in the Cold Interstellar Medium. Vasyunin AI, Herbst E. Astrophysical Journal. 769:34 (2013).

Modeling The Molecular Composition in an AGN Disk. Harada N, Thompson TA, Herbst E. Astrophysical Journal. 765:108 (2013).

Can Interstellar Propene (CH3CHCH2) Be Formed via Gas-Phase Reactions? Lin Z, Talbi D, Roueff E, Herbst E, Wehres N, Cole CA, Yang ZB, Snow TP, Bierbaum VM. Astrophysical Journal. 765:80 (2013).

A Unified Monte Carlo Treatment of Gas-Grain Chemistry for Large Reaction Networks. II. A Multiphase Gas-Surface-Layered Bulk Model. Vasyunin AI, Herbst E. Astrophysical Journal. 762:86 (2013).

The chemistry of C3 & Carbon Chain Molecules in DR21(OH). Mookerjea B, Hassel GE, Gerin M, Giesen t, Stutzki J, Herbst E, Black JH, Goldsmith PF, Menten KM, Krelowski J, De Luca M, Csengeri T, Joblin C, Kazmierczak M, Schmidt M, Goicoechea JR, Cernicharo J. Astronomy & Astrophysics. 546: A75 (2012).

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