Nobel Prize Award for Chemistry 1946 to 1948

About the Nobel Prize Award for Chemistry from 1946 to 1948 including the scientists Tiselius and Robinson, their works, and history.

CHEMISTRY

1946 James B. Sumner (1887-1955), American

Work: Discovered that enzymes can be crystallized

John H. Northrop (1891- ), American

Wendell M. Stanley (1904-1971), American

Work: Preparation of enzymes and virus proteins in pure form

1947 Robert Robinson (1886-1975), British

Work: Investigation of plant products, especially the alkaloids

Nobel Laureate: Born in Chesterfield and educated at the Victoria University of Manchester. Robinson at 26 rose to full professor at the University of Sydney in Australia. He moved on to several institutions in England before settling in at Oxford in 1930. In addition to becoming the foremost authority on alkaloids of his day, Robinson also helped produce penicillin and concocted substances very similar to certain sex hormones. A critic of nuclear development, he raised alarms in many quarters in 1955 with his assertion that atomic weapons tests may one day kick off an uncontrolled chain reaction capable of engulfing the planet. Although roundly denounced as a false prophet, he in turn criticized his fellow scientists for not taking the chain reaction threat seriously. Robinson's first wife died in 1954; three years later he married a New York widow. He liked climbing mountains, puttering in the garden, and pondering over a chessboard. He served for a time as president of the British Chess Federation. Asked in 1951 if he thought that science might someday alter man's basic nature, the chemist responded, "There is no general chemical substitute for improving his social, economic, and political conditions." Sir Robert (he was knighted in 1939) died in his home 30 mi. northwest of London at age 89.

1948 Arne W.K. Tiselius (1902-1971), Swedish

Work: Devised new ways to detect and separate colloids and serum proteins

Nobel Laureate: Born in Stockholm, the son and grandson of mathematicians, Tiselius, upon receiving his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Uppsala in 1930, joined that institution's faculty. He discovered that it was possible to separate a colloidal suspension from its solution, even when a centrifuge was no help. He employed two methods to achieve this: (1) electrophoresis, passing current through a colloidal solution to charge the various suspended particles and set them in motion toward the electrodes, where they are collected; and (2) adsorption, passing the colloidal solution through a fine filter, causing the suspended particles to adhere to the filter. Tiselius maintained a lifelong interest in fishing and boating hobbies which he found time for at his summer place on Sweden's west coast. Music, modern art, and literature also helped him unwind.

Nobel Lore: Tiselius served as chairman of the Nobel Foundation, in which capacity he used the forum of the 1963 awards ceremony in Stockholm to pay tribute to Pres. John F. Kennedy, slain the previous month in Dallas, as a man who "worked for the ideals of Alfred Nobel." But, of course, JFK was dead and therefore ineligible for further consideration for a Nobel Prize.

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