Nobel Prize Award for Chemistry 1926-1930

About the winners of the Nobel Prize for chemistry from 1926 to 1930 including Svedberg, Windaus, and Fischer, what they won for, as well as behind the scenes information on the decision.

1926 Theodor Svedberg (1884-1971), Swedish. Work: Research on colloidal systems.

Behind the Award--When the Academy awarded Svedberg the prize for the experimental results in the field of colloidal chemistry, it could easily have given him a 2nd award for his invention, the ultra-centrifuge. Developed primarily to assist him in his work at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, the tool is now a primary aid in the investigation of substances of high molecular weights, and is particularly valuable for studies with the giant protein molecules.

1927 Heinrich O. Wieland (1877-1957), German. Work: Researched bile acids and analogous substances.

1928 Adolf O. R. Windaus (1876-1959), German. Work: Research on the sterols and their relation to the vitamins.

Behind the Award--Having chosen Heinrich Wieland in 1927 for his researches in the bile acids, the committee in the following year voted for recognition of Windaus's closely related work with sterols. Windaus, in fact, had discovered that the sterols and the bile acids studied by Wieland came from the same parent substance. The committee's decision was justified. The studies with sterols led the expatriate German, director of the chemical laboratories at the University of Gottingen since 1915, into vitamin D research and the discovery of vitamin D3, the main antirachitic component of vitamin D.

1929 Arthur Harden (1865-1940), British.

Hans von Euler-Chelpin (1873-1964), Swedish (b. Germany). Work: Investigated the fermentation of sugar and of fermentative enzymes.

1930 Hans Fischer (1881-1945), German. Work: Synthesized hemin and researched both hemin and chlorophyll.

Behind the Award--According to Alfred Nobel's will, the prizes were to be awarded ". . . to those persons who shall contribute most materially to benefiting mankind during the year immediately preceding." Fischer is one of the few laureates who have met the qualification literally, having completed his work on hemin synthesis during 1929. Both a medical doctor and a research chemist, he confirmed that hemin--the coloring matter in blood--and chlorophyll--the substance giving green plants their color--can be derived from the same porphyrin.

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