Adolf Windaus


Adolf Otto Reinhold Windaus

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Adolf Otto Reinhold Windaus
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1928

Born: 25 December 1876, Berlin, Germany

Died: 9 June 1959, Göttingen, West Germany (now Germany)

Affiliation at the time of the award: Goettingen University, Göttingen, Germany

Prize motivation: “for the services rendered through his research into the constitution of the sterols and their connection with the vitamins”

Prize share: 1/1


Cholesterol is an important component in the body’s cells and plays a major role in several biochemical processes. During the 1920s Adolf Windaus researched the composition of cholesterol and closely related substances, sterols. He established the sterols’ relationship with bile acids. Windaus also found that ergosterol, another sterol, had the ability to cure rickets, a disease characterized by skeletal weakness and caused by a deficiency of vitamin D. He was able to show that vitamin D was formed out of ergosterol under the influence of ultraviolet light.

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