Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.
Hermann Emil Fischer
Born: 9 October 1852, Euskirchen, Prussia (now Germany)
Died: 15 July 1919, Berlin, Germany
Affiliation at the time of the award: Berlin University, Berlin, Germany
Prize motivation: "in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered by his work on sugar and purine syntheses."
Prize share: 1/1
Carbohydrates, including sugar, are crucial to the biological processes of living organisms. In 1877 Emil Fischer produced phenylhydrazine, a base that helped reveal sugar molecules' structures. Fischer was able to produce several sugars artificially and to map the structure of their molecules. Another group of substances with important biological functions is nitrogenous compounds, or purines. Emil Fischer showed that purines form the caffeine found in coffee and its equivalents in tea and cacao.