Vincent du Vigneaud
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1955
Born: 18 May 1901, Chicago, IL, USA
Died: 11 December 1978, White Plains, NY, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
Prize motivation: “for his work on biochemically important sulphur compounds, especially for the first synthesis of a polypeptide hormone”
Prize share: 1/1
The element sulfur plays an important role in some of the chemical compounds and processes that are the basis of all life. Vincent du Vigneaud studied sulfurous compounds, including oxytocin, a hormone that among other things plays a role in sexual intimacy and reproduction among people and mammals. In 1953 du Vigneaud succeeded in isolating the substance and determining its chemical composition. It became the first peptide hormone to have its sequence of amino acids determined. He also succeeded in producing oxytocin by artificial means.