Nobel Prize Award for Chemistry 1926 to 1935

About the Nobel Prize Award for Chemistry from 1926 to 1935 including the scientists Langmuir and Wieland, their works, and history.


1926 Theodor Svedberg (1884-1971), Swedish

Work: Colloid research

1927 Heinrich O. Wieland (1877-1957), German

Work: Research into bile acids and related substances

Nobel Laureate: Wieland got his Ph.D. from the University of Munich in 1901 and early in his career concocted a new anesthesia combining acetylene and oxygen, which promised to induce a near-natural state of sleep. In 1912 he began studying bile acids and eventually synthesized several. He whipped up a new medicine, lobeline, a drug similar to nicotine, which stimulates respiration. In 1925 he returned to the University of Munich and directed the chemistry laboratory there until he retired in 1952. After W.W. II, it was revealed that Wieland had regularly harbored Jews fleeing Hitler's wrath. He died in Munich at 80.

Nobel Lore: Wieland was the father-in-law of Feodor Lynen, co-winner of the 1964 Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine.

1928 Adolf O.R. Windaus (1876-1959), German

Work: Research into the makeup of various sterols, including cholesterol, and their relationship with vitamins

1929 Arthur Harden (1865-1940), British

Hans von Euler-Chelpin (1873-1964), Swedish (b. Germany)

Work: Research into the fermentation of sugar and of fermentative enzymes

1930 Hans Fischer (1881-1945), German

Work: Research into the constitution of hemin (used to test for the presence of blood) and chlorophyll

1931 Karl Bosch (1874-1940), German

Friedrich Bergius (1884-1949), German

Work: Invention and development of chemical high-pressure methods

1932 Irving Langmuir (1881-1957), American

Work: Investigations in surface chemistry

Nobel Laureate: A Brooklyn native, Langmuir got his first taste of chemistry, quite literally and with near-fatal consequences, at age six. Older brother Arthur had brought home a bottle of chlorine gas from chemistry class and offered Irving a whiff. The tot eagerly popped the cork and filled his lungs with the poisonous green gas. Although he very nearly choked to death, Irving survived to conduct more prudent experiments later on. At his brother's urging, Langmuir at age nine put together a scientific workshop, which he expanded into a full-blown laboratory three years later. A quick study, he taught himself calculus in six weeks and also picked up the fundamentals of qualitative analysis on his own. After study abroad, he entered the Columbia University School of Mines in 1899 and later earned his Ph.D. in Germany. He taught chemistry for a while at a technical school in Hoboken, N.J., but in 1909 accepted an offer to join the research team at General Electric Laboratories in Schenectady, N.Y., where he conducted his prizewinning experiments. Soon after his arrival, he discovered that the life of light bulbs could be prolonged by filling the glass globes with an inactive gas such as argon. He later formulated the principle of independent surface action, i.e., that the atomic arrangement within a molecule determines just how active that particular element or compound is, and also explained why some substances, like sugar, readily dissolve in water, while others, such as oil, do not. During W.W.II, he devised a smoke machine for camouflage purposes. After the war, he developed the art of seeding clouds with dry ice and silver iodide to induce rain. An outdoorsman since his youth, Langmuir relaxed in his summer cottage overlooking Lake George in upstate New York and frequently took skiing vacations in New Hampshire's White Mountains. He organized Schenectady's first Boy Scout troop. Langmuir died in Falmouth, Mass., at age 76.

1933 No award

1934 Harold C. Urey (1893- ), American

Work: Discovery of heavy hydrogen, which he named deuterium

1935 Frederic Joliot-Curie (1900-1958), French

Irene Joliot-Curie (1897-1956), French

Work: Synthesis of new radioactive elements

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