Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Adolf von Baeyer
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1905
Born: 31 October 1835, Berlin, Prussia (now Germany)
Died: 20 August 1917, Starnberg, Germany
Affiliation at the time of the award: Munich University, Munich, Germany
Prize motivation: "in recognition of his services in the advancement of organic chemistry and the chemical industry, through his work on organic dyes and hydroaromatic compounds."
Prize share: 1/1
A new industrial branch developed in the late 1800s, dye manufacturing. Beginning in the 1860s, Adolf von Baeyer performed a series of studies on the chemistry of dyes. These led to the production of several dyes from coal tar. The most important of these was the blue dye indigo, which, thanks to von Baeyer, could now be produced industrially instead of being extracted from plants. This made it much less expensive to produce. Another group of dyes Adolf von Baeyer studied were phthaleins.
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.