Society: Arts and Science – August 1


The Nobel Prize is bestowed annually in categories as selected by Swedish and Norwegian committees in recognition of cultural or scientific advances. The 1895 will of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel established the prizes.
Otto Heinrich Warburg died on this date in 1978. Son of physicist Emil Warburg, he was a German physiologist, medical doctor and Nobel laureate. He served as an officer in the elite Ulan (cavalry regiment) during the First World War, and won the Iron Cross (1st Class) for bravery. Warburg was one of the 20th century’s leading biochemists. He won the 1931 Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology. In total, he was nominated an unprecedented three times for the Nobel prize for three separate achievements.
Richard Kuhn was died this date in 1967. He was an Austrian-German biochemist and Nobel laureate. Kuhn’s areas of study included: investigations of theoretical problems of organic chemistry (stereochemistry of aliphatic and aromatic compounds; syntheses of polyenes and cumulenes; constitution and colour; the acidity of hydrocarbons), as well as extensive fields in biochemistry (carotenoids; flavins; vitamins and enzymes). Specifically, he carried out important work on vitamin B2 and the antidermatitis vitamin B6. In 1929 he became Principal of the Institute for Chemistry at the newly founded Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Medical Research (which, since 1950, has been renamed the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg). By 1937 he also took over the administration of this Institute. In addition to these duties he also served as of Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Heidelberg, and for one year he was at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia as a Visiting Research Professor for Physiological chemistry. He was subsequently awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1938 for his “work on carotenoids and vitamins,” but was unable to accept the award until after World War II.[1] Kuhn is also credited with the discovery of the deadly nerve agent Soman in 1944. Kuhn was editor of Justus Liebigs Annalen der Chemie from 1948. Kuhn died in 1967 in Heidelberg, Germany, aged 66.
George Charles de Hevesy was born on this date in 1885. He was a Hungarian radiochemist and Nobel laureate, recognized in 1943 for his key role in the development of radioactive tracers to study chemical processes such as in the metabolism of animals. He also co-discovered the element hafnium.
Tadeusz Reichstein died on this date in 1996. He was a Polish chemist residing in Switzerland and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine laureate (1950). Reichstein was born into a Jewish family at Włocławek, Kingdom of Poland. His parents were Gastava (Brockmann) and Isidor Reichstein. He spent his early childhood at Kiev, where his father was an engineer. He began his education at boarding-school in Jena, Germany. In 1933, working in Zürich, Switzerland, Reichstein succeeded, independently of Sir Norman Haworth and his collaborators in the United Kingdom, in synthesizing vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in what is now called the Reichstein process. Together with E. C. Kendall and P. S. Hench, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1950 for their work on hormones of the adrenal cortex which culminated in the isolation of cortisone. In later years, Reichstein became interested in the phytochemistry and cytology of ferns, publishing at least 80 papers on these subjects in the last three decades of his life. He had a particular interest in the use of chromosome number and behavior in the interpretation of histories of hybridization and polyploidy, but also continued his earlier interest in the chemical constituents of the plants. He died in Basel, Switzerland. The principal industrial process for the artificial synthesis of Vitamin C still bears his name. Reichstein was the longest-lived Nobel laureate at the time of his death, but was surpassed in 2008 by Rita Levi-Montalcini.