The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1929
Born: 11 August 1858, Nijkerk, the Netherlands
Died: 5 November 1930, Utrecht, the Netherlands
Affiliation at the time of the award: Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
Prize motivation: "for his discovery of the antineuritic vitamin."
Prize share: 1/2
Symptoms of beriberi include muscular atrophy and paralysis. In Dutch colonies in Asia, Christian Eijkmann was given the task of finding the causes of the illness. By chance, he noted that hens that were fed milled rice were afflicted by similar symptoms. Further research led in 1897 to the conclusion that there was a substance in the husk of rice that counteracted the illness. These vital substances came to be called vitamins. The substance that counteracts beriberi subsequently was designated vitamin B1.