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Willstatter (Willstatter), Richard

( German chemist, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1915)

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Biography Willstatter (Willstatter), Richard
August 13, 1872, Mr.. - August 3, 1942
German chemist Richard Martin Willstцгtter was born in Karlsruhe, in the family textile merchant Willstatter Max and Sophia (Ullman) Willstatter. He graduated from high school in Karlsruhe and a real high school in Nuremberg, where he showed himself so apt pupil, that the rector had recommended him for admission to the prestigious Royal College in Munich. The boy, however, was denied admission because he was a Jew. In 1890, after the real high school, in. enrolled in the Technical University of Munich, to study chemistry. However, the level of training they had disappointed him, and he moved to the University of Munich in the laboratory of Adolf von Baeyer.
Bayer recommended in. his colleague Alfred Einhorn. Thus, working with Einhorn on the structure of cocaine and related compounds,. began his career as a researcher. In 1894, Mr.. He received his doctorate in chemistry, two years later became assistant professor (Visiting Professor), and in 1902. was appointed extraordinary professor (associate professor) in the laboratory of Bayer. In 1905, Mr.. V. He was appointed professor of Chemistry of the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.
It was in Zurich in. began to engage in research of green substance chlorophyll, which is contained in almost all flowering plants, mosses, ferns and algae. Chlorophyll plays an important role in photosynthesis - the process of turning green plants under the influence of light carbon dioxide and water into sugar, starch, and oxygen. At a time when B. began his research, the structure of chlorophyll was not fully understood. In 1906, Mr.. been suggested that in each individual plant, there are many different kinds of chlorophylls and that the kingdom of plants is a storehouse of unlimited number of chlorophylls. If this theory were true, . would be very difficult to determine the chemical nature of photosynthesis, . because data, . obtained from experiments on one species of plant, . could not be of no value to researchers, . dealing with others of their species.,
. The significant contribution made in
. (largely in collaboration with his pupil Arthur Stoll) in the solution of this problem, different technological perfection. At the leaves of nettles, a cheap source of chlorophyll present in large numbers, in. showed that chlorophyll there is one basic structure (tetrapirrol, or the connection of four pyrrole rings of the central atom of magnesium). Furthermore, he substantiated that, although the chlorophyll a typical structure, there are two of his almost identical forms a and b. Continuing its work in. established the universality of chlorophyll a and b, exposing the analysis of more than 200 plants. Thus, he demonstrated the presence in the world of one of the fundamental structure of chlorophyll. And hence the conclusion is that during photosynthesis occur everywhere the same chemical reactions. Having come to this opening,. and Stoll gave this assessment of some of the contradictory results obtained earlier by researchers chlorophyll. They stated that these studies were conducted 'with untreated chlorophyll. Strictly speaking, it generally was not chlorophyll '.
In 1912, yielding to the urgent request of his friend Hans Fischer, in. moved to the newly created Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin, where he continued his study of anthocyanins. Most of the red, blue and purple pigments of plants consists of anthocyanins - compounds that can be extracted from plants with the help of alcohol, ether or water. For example, due to anthocyanin water, which boils beets, becomes red. V. found that for the same structure of water-soluble pigments can be formed in a different color. He found that most of the plants flower owes its color only three anthocyanin, which differ only in the number of hydroxyl groups on the A ring of water-soluble structures. The color of flowers depends on a mixture of several anthocyanins, and (for yellow), carotenoids. Held in. studies were interrupted by the outbreak of anthocyanin in 1914. First World War. Because of the injuries that he received several years earlier, in the mountains, making the ascent, the scientist had been released from military service.
In 1915, Mr.. V. was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 'for the study of plant pigments of the world, especially chlorophyll'. Because during the war, the award ceremony was canceled, in. received the award only in 1920,. In his Nobel lecture, he said: 'The purpose of my work was, . to establish the structural characteristics of the most widely used plant pigments, . especially chlorophyll, . and find some criteria, . concerning their chemical functions',
. Jobs. of chlorophyll and anthocyanins showed that the basis of the diversity of plant pigments is only a few chemical compounds. Correlating this fact with the study of chlorophyll in. argued that the biochemical basis of photosynthesis should be universal and therefore they will be subjected to scientific analysis.
In 1916, Mr.. V. was elected Professor of the University of Munich in place Bayer. But at the end of World War I scientific life in Germany has faced many difficulties due to rampant inflation and political instability. Nevertheless. elected a new line of research, 'to break into the unknown', and took up the study of enzymes (organic compounds that can cause changes, acting as catalysts), of which neither he nor his colleagues knew almost nothing. However, by 1924. significantly increased anti-Semitism, and a number of Jews - of candidates for university positions were not recruited. Responsible for the refusal to accept the candidate of Jewish origin was appointed in. university official. In this regard, July 24, 1924, Mr.. scientist in protest retiring. Successor in. the university becomes Heinrich Wieland, which provides in. in the next few years the possibility of experimental work with leukocytes.
With the advent of the Nazis (1933) Life. deteriorated soon after Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany, in. visited the U.S. and the UK. There he repeatedly offered positions related to research activities and teaching, but the scientist dismissed these suggestions, wanting to stay at home. In November, 1938. his house the police came to arrest in. and sent to Dachau (the first concentration camp in Nazi Germany, Ed.), but the housekeeper could not hold the police in the garden, where a scientist at this time hiding. At the beginning of next year. attempted to flee to Switzerland (where he was offered shelter by his former pupil Arthur Stoll), but when in. crossed by boat Lake Constance, he was captured by the Gestapo. Later, after the intervention of the Swiss Ambassador,. was allowed to leave Germany. In Switzerland, Stoll gave him the opportunity to stay at the villa 'Hermitage', near Locarno, where B. lived until his death. There scholar wrote an autobiography, which is called 'On My Life' ( "From My Life") was published in England in 1965
In 1903, Mr.. V. married Sophia Lezen. They had a son and a daughter, wife. died in 1909, and he is no longer married. The scientist died of heart disease on Aug. 3, 1942, just before his 70 th anniversary. As wrote the English chemist Robert Robinson, in. 'was a great experimenter and inventor of the great experiments. However, his supreme gift of the researcher was in the ability to organize work '. V. loved and deeply respected Jewish national culture, while maintaining strong ties with musical, literary and intellectual life of Germany.
In addition to the Nobel Prize in. was awarded the Davy Medal of the Royal Society of London (1932) and Willard Gibbs Medal of the American Chemical Society (1933) and was awarded honorary degrees from Oxford, Manchester and Paris Universities. He was a foreign member of the Royal Society of London and an honorary member of the British Society of Chemistry.


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