Nobel Prize Award for Chemistry 1961 to 1968

About the Nobel Prize Award for Chemistry from 1961 to 1968 including the scientists Ziegler and Natta, their works, and history.

1961 Melvin Calvin (1911- ), American

Work: Determination of the chemical reactions occurring during photosynthesis

1962 Max F. Perutz (1914- ), British (b. Austria)

John C. Kendrew (1917- ), British

Work: Determined the structure of Certain globular proteins

1963 Karl Ziegler (1898-1973), German

Giulio Natta (1903- ), Italian

Work: Transformation of simple hydrocarbons into complex molecular substances

Nobel Laureates: Ziegler specialized in organometallic compounds, organic substances containing metal. He learned that these compounds could be used as catalysts in transforming a simple hydrocarbon such as ethylene into a high polymer such as polyethylene. From 1943 he served as director of the prestigious Max Planck Institute. A compulsive worker, he lived in a wing of the institute and relied on his wife to force him to bed from time to time. He had a weakness for contraptions of every sort. His windows, for example, were wired to open and close at the touch of a button; similar controls governed the operation of awnings and blinds. He collected modern art and fossils.

Natta sat down with a chemistry book at age 12 and has been hooked on the science ever since. Beginning his career as an X-ray crystallographer, he went on to investigate the nature of polymers and so improved on Ziegler's original work that he has been called the "wizard of plastics." The small, low-key chemist has served as director of the Institute of Industrial Chemistry at Milan's Institute of Technology since 1938. He lives in Bergamo, in the Alpine foothills of northern Italy, where he, like Ziegler, studies fossils, and used to enjoy mushroom hunting in the woods.

Nobel Lore: Disabled by Parkinson's disease, Natta struggled to the stage with a cane and an escort to receive his Nobel diploma and gold medal from King Gustavus.

1964 Dorothy C. Hodgkin (1910- ), British

Work: Determined the structure of biochemical substances, including vitamin B12 and penicillin

1965 Robert B. Woodward (1917- ), American

Work: Development of techniques to synthesize complex organic compounds, among them chlorophyll and steroids

1966 Robert S. Mulliken (1896- ), American

Work: Pioneer work on chemical bonds and the electronic structure of molecules by the molecular-orbital method

1967 Manfred Eigen (1927- ), German Ronald G. W. Norrish (1897- ), British George Porter (1920- ), British

Work: Measurement of rapid chemical reactions which are set in motion when small energy pulsations upset the equilibrium

1968 Lars Onsager (1903-1976), American (b. Norway)

Work: Discovery of the reciprocal relations between voltage and temperature, a relationship fundamental to the thermodynamics of irreversible processes, such as the workings of living cells

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