Max F. Perutz


Max Ferdinand Perutz

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Max Ferdinand Perutz
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1962

Born: 19 May 1914, Vienna, Austria

Died: 6 February 2002, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Affiliation at the time of the award: MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Prize motivation: “for their studies of the structures of globular proteins”

Prize share: 1/2


Max Perutz was born in Vienna, where his father owned a textile factory. After university studies in Vienna, Perutz applied to join Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge in 1936, where he later completed his PhD. During World War II he was involved in defense-related projects and spent some time in Canada. After the war he returned to Cambridge, where he played a pivotal role in establishing the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology. Perutz was married with two children.


When X-rays pass through a crystalline structure, the patterns formed can be captured as photographic images, which are then used to determine the crystal's structure. During the 1930s, this method was used to map increasingly large and complex molecules. Max Perutz began to map the structure of hemoglobin, for example–the protein that allows blood to transport energy-giving oxygen to the body's muscles. His study, completed in 1959, was later followed by further studies of the hemoglobin molecule and its function.

To cite this section
MLA style: Max F. Perutz – Facts. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Wed. 19 Jun 2024. <>

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.

Explore prizes and laureates

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