The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1912
Born: 5 November 1854, Carcassonne, France
Died: 14 August 1941, Toulouse, France
Affiliation at the time of the award: Toulouse University, Toulouse, France
Prize motivation: “for his method of hydrogenating organic compounds in the presence of finely disintegrated metals whereby the progress of organic chemistry has been greatly advanced in recent years”
Prize share: 1/2
Nature is full of organic substances—a large and varied quantity of chemical compounds that contain the element carbon. Combining—synthesizing—organic substances by chemical means is important in both scientific and industrial contexts. Around 1897 Paul Sabatier developed a method for causing unsaturated organic substances to absorb hydrogen and form new organic compounds. The method primarily uses nickel, but also other metals, as catalysts—substances that facilitate the process without being integrated into the final product.