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Adam Heller received his M.Sc. (Chemistry and Physics, 1957) and Ph.D. (Chemistry, 1961) from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, where he studied under E. D. Bergmann. Following postdoctoral work at U.C. Berkeley and at Bell Laboratories, he joined GTE Laboratories, where he became Manager of Exploratory Research in the area of lighting products in 1970. In 1975 he returned to ATT Bell Laboratories, heading from 1977 until 1988 the Electronic Materials Research Department. He was appointed to the Ernest Cockrell, Sr. Chair in Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin in 1988. Dr. Heller received the 1978 Battery Research Award of The Electrochemical Society; the David C. Grahame Physical Electrochemistry Award of The Electrochemical Society in 1987; was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in 1987; received the Vittorio De Nora Gold Medal of The Electrochemical Society in 1988; an Honorary Doctorate (Doctor Honoris Causa) by Uppsala University in Sweden in 1991; the Chemistry of Materials Award of the American Chemical Society (1994); and was made Fellow of The Electrochemical Society (1994).
Dr. Heller's study of the physical chemistry of inorganic oxyhalide solutions resulted in the first neodymium liquid lasers (1964-1967) and in the lithium thionyl chloride battery (1973), one of the earliest lithium batteries, remaining in use in medical and defense systems where 20 year shelf life, high energy density and a broad operating temperature range are required. His studies of photoelectrochemical solar cells resulted in 11.5 percent efficient solar cells (1980) and in 11 percent efficient hydrogen evolving photoelectrodes. His related studies of photoelectrocatalysis established that the rate of photo-assisted oxidation of organic matter on photocatalytic titanium dioxide particles was controlled by the rate of reduction of adsorbed oxygen by trapped electrons. He established the field the electrical wiring of enzymes (1988-2005), the electrical connection of their catalytic redox centers to electrodes, and built with wired enzymes the subcutaneously implanted miniature glucose sensors. His wired enzymes became the core technology of the FreeStyle NavigatorTM system of Abbott Diabetes Care; it continuously and accurately monitors subcutaneous glucose levels in diabetic people.