The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1937
Born: 21 April 1889, Moscow, Russia
Died: 18 June 1971, Zurich, Switzerland
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Prize motivation: "for his investigations on carotenoids, flavins and vitamins A and B2."
Prize share: 1/2
In addition to carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, our bodies need water, salts, and substances known as vitamins to grow and function properly. In 1931 Paul Karrer succeeded in extracting vitamin A from cod-liver oil and in determining its composition. Vitamin A is necessary for the body to grow, and one of its components is carotene, which is found in carrots and elsewhere. This was the first vitamin to undergo a mapping of its structure. In 1933 Karrer also determined the structure of vitamin B2, which made it possible to produce the vitamin by artificial means.
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.