The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1907
Born: 20 May 1860, Munich, Bavaria (now Germany)
Died: 13 August 1917, Focsani, Romania
Affiliation at the time of the award: Landwirtschaftliche Hochschule (Agricultural College), Berlin, Germany
Prize motivation: "for his biochemical researches and his discovery of cell-free fermentation."
Prize share: 1/1
During the 19th century it was discovered that microorganisms were behind biochemical processes, such as fermentation, which is caused by microscopic fungi. This raised questions about whether such processes were a manifestation of a special life force that existed only with living matter. In 1897 Eduard Buchner discovered that yeast extract with no living yeast fungi can form alcohol from a sugar solution. The conclusion was that biochemical processes do not necessarily require living cells, but are driven by special substances, enzymes, formed in cells.
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.