The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1953
Born: 23 March 1881, Worms, Germany
Died: 8 September 1965, Freiburg im Breisgau, West Germany (now Germany)
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Freiburg, Breisgau, Federal Republic of Germany, Staatliches Institut für makromolekulare Chemie (State Research Institute for Macromolecular Chemistry), Freiburg, Breisgau, Federal Republic of Germany
Prize motivation: "for his discoveries in the field of macromolecular chemistry."
Prize share: 1/1
The world around us is made of atoms combined to form molecules. In the early 1900s chemists debated how large these molecules could become. In the early 1920s Hermann Staudinger claimed they could be very large; tens or even hundreds of thousands of atoms in size. He showed how small molecules can join to form long chains and so become very large molecules - polymers. The result was the basis for the development of synthetic materials like plastics.
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.