Ten Extraordinary German Chemists Who Won the Nobel Prize

German chemists carl bosch fritz haber.

German Chemists | Chemists from Germany

Famous German chemists who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Hermann Emil Fischer

Year: 1902

Nobel Prize for: Fischer is considered as one of the greatest natural product chemists of the 19th century. The biochemist developed a large number of methods to elucidate the cell structure, making it possible for the first time to understand the structure of enzymes and proteins. While working in the laboratory, he discovered phenylhydrazine, a highly toxic blood poison. Because of him, it is possible to separate the different types of sugar from each other. Fischer suffered from cancer (most probably due to his laboratory experiments) and died at the age of 66 by committing suicide.

Adolf von Baeyer

Year: 1905

Nobel Prize for: German chemist Adolf von Baeyer received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in recognition of his merit, which he acquired around the development of organic chemistry and the chemical industry through his work on organic dyes and hydroaromatic compounds.

Fritz Haber

Year: 1918

Nobel Prize for: Fritz Haber was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry of the Year in 1919 for the synthesis of ammonia from its elements. Haber was Director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry in Berlin-Dahlem and Honorary Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Berlin. Today, this institute is named after him as the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society.

Fritz Haber’s first wife, Clara Immerwahr, was the first woman in Germany who got a Ph.D. in Chemistry. The feminist and pacifist committed suicide in 1915 and criticized the ruthless ambitions of her husband Fritz until last.

Hans Fischer

Year: 1930

Nobel Prize for: The chemist Hans Fischer received the Nobel Prize for his studies on “the structural work of blood and plant dyes and the synthesis of hemin”. Hemins are components of hemoglobin – the blood pigment.

Carl Bosch

Year: 1931

Nobel Prize for: Together with Friedrich Bergius, Bosch was honored for his services to the discovery and development of high-pressure chemical processes.

Otto Hahn

Year: 1944

Nobel Prize for: Hahn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of the fission of heavy atomic nuclei. Although or perhaps because of his findings which had contributed to the development of the atomic bomb, he stood up against a ban on nuclear weapons after the end of the war.

Hermann Staudinger

Year: 1953

Nobel Prize for: Staudinger was honored for his discoveries in the field of macromolecular chemistry. He has helped elucidate the chemical structure of starch, rubber, and cellulose.

Karl Ziegler

Year: 1963

Nobel Prize for: Together with Giulio Natta, Ziegler discovered a process that makes it possible to produce plastic in large quantities at low cost: The Italian and German chemists developed mixed catalysts – today is known as Ziegler-Natta catalysts – with which ethylene could be polymerized to polyethylene at normal pressure for the first time. Today, for example, water bottles, plastic bags, and aircraft components are made of polyethylene.

Ernst Otto Fischer

Year: 1973

Nobel Prize for: Fischer was awarded the Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking work in the field of certain compounds of metals and carbon molecules, together with Geoffrey Wilkinson from the UK. These organometallic compounds play an important role in chemistry today, especially as reaction accelerators (catalysts). Born as the son of a physicist in Munich, Fischer became a private lecturer after studying chemistry at the Technical University of Munich in 1954. Three years later, he received a chair at the University of Munich and in 1964 he returned to the present Technical University (TU), where he succeeded his teacher Walter Hieber.

Gerhard Ertl

Year: 2007

Nobel Prize for: The German chemist Gerhard Ertl received the Nobel Prize for studies of chemical processes on solid surfaces. In practice, for example, his research plays a role in automotive catalysts.

Featured image (cropped): Carl BoschNobel Foundation Wikimedia – Public Domain/ Fritz Haber Nobel Foundation Wikimedia – Public Domain
January 16, 2018
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