Paul Karrer


Paul Karrer

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Paul Karrer
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.

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