Leopold Ruzicka

Facts

Leopold Ruzicka

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Leopold Ruzicka
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1939

Born: 13 September 1887, Vukovar, Austria-Hungary (now Croatia)

Died: 26 September 1976, Zurich, Switzerland

Affiliation at the time of the award: Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Zurich, Switzerland

Prize motivation: “for his work on polymethylenes and higher terpenes”

Prize share: 1/2

Work

Terpenes are a large and varied group of substances that range from rubber and the solvent turpentine to the cholesterol in our blood. Leopold Ruzicka studied fragrances in perfumes and became interested in how they were related to other substances. In the mid-1920s he came to the conclusion that the substances were composed of the same building block, terpene isoprene. By manipulating cholesterol molecules, Ruzicka succeeded in producing the male sex hormone androsterone and later demonstrated that testosterone also could be produced from cholesterol.

To cite this section
MLA style: Leopold Ruzicka – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Mon. 24 Jun 2024. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/chemistry/1939/ruzicka/facts/>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Nobel Prizes and laureates

Eleven laureates were awarded a Nobel Prize in 2023, for achievements that have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind. Their work and discoveries range from effective mRNA vaccines and attosecond physics to fighting against the oppression of women.

See them all presented here.
Illustration

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.