Named in honour of Gerhard Herzberg (b. 1904, d. 1999), Canadian Nobel Laureate in Chemistry in 1971 and acknowledged world leader in the study of molecular spectra. Herzberg's specialty has been free radicals, both in the laboratory and in interstellar space. He has identified numerous features in the spectra of comets, planets and interstellar material. In 1975 the National Research Council of Canada's astronomy and spectroscopy units were reorganized as the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics.
Name proposed by the discoverer following a suggestion by P. M. Millman.
Obituary published in Nature, Vol. 398, No. 6729, p. 670 (1999).
Reference: MPC 12210