Adolf Friedrich Johann Butenandt
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1939
Born: 24 March 1903, Bremerhaven-Lehe, Germany
Died: 18 January 1995, Munich, Germany
Affiliation at the time of the award: Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut (now Max-Planck-Institut) für Biochemie, Berlin-Dahlem, Germany, Berlin University, Berlin, Germany
Prize motivation: "for his work on sex hormones."
Adolf Butenandt was caused by the authorities of his country to decline the award but he later received the diploma and the medal.
Prize share: 1/2
Hormones are substances that transfer signals between the body's cells and organs and regulate bodily functions. In the 1930s Adolf Butenandt contributed to the mapping of several hormones that specifically apply to men and women, respectively. After determining the composition of the female sex hormone estrogen, he was able to determine the structure for this hormone and a related hormone, estriol. He was also able to produce a male sex hormone in pure form for the first time and to determine its chemical composition. It was named androsterone.
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.