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Windaus (Windaus), Adolph

( German chemist, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1928)

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Biography Windaus (Windaus), Adolph
December 25, 1876, Mr.. - June 9, 1959
German chemist Adolf Otto Reinhold Windaus was born in Berlin. His father, Adolf Windaus, came from a family of textile manufacturers, and his mother, Margaret (Elster) Windaus - from a family of master crafts. The boy received his secondary education in the French Gymnasium in Berlin, where mostly studied literature and science was given to very little time. But W., inspired by the books on the discoveries in bacteriology, made by Robert Koch and Louis Pasteur, decided to become a doctor.
In 1895, Mr.. V. began to study medicine at the University of Berlin. At the same time he attended lectures by the chemist Emil Fischer, whose interest in the application of chemistry in physiology impressed in the. Having passed in 1897. entrance examination for medicine,. continued his studies at the University of Freiburg. He studied chemistry at the famous German chemist Heinrich Kilian, and deciding to part with the same plans for a medical career, wrote a thesis on cardiac poisons of digitalis, for which he in 1899. was awarded a doctoral degree in chemistry.
After serving a year in military service in Berlin,. returned to Freiburg, where in 1903. a lecturer, and three years later - Assistant Professor. In 1913, Mr.. He was appointed Professor of Applied Chemistry, Medical University of Innsbruck in Austria, and in 1915. V. returned to Germany, taking dozhnost chemistry professor and director of the Laboratory of General Chemistry (now the Institute of Chemistry), University of Gottingen, where he worked for 29 years.
Main thrust conducted in. research was to establish the relationship between biologically important chemicals. Kilian invited him to study the structure of cholesterol. At that time, little was known about the structure and functions of this widely used substance, and in. believed that it should be closely linked with other biological compounds, known as 'sterols'. Sterols (complex organic compounds that do not contain nitrogen and consisting of four planar rings with various side chains) are found in various forms of cells of animals, plants and fungi. The most famous of them, cholesterol, was first detected in human gallstones. Cholesterol is often associated with heart disease and arteriosclerosis, it is found in large quantities in the cells of the brain and the adrenal cortex. The level of cholesterol in the blood increases during pregnancy and decreases in infectious diseases.
At the beginning of XX century. Heinrich Wieland, studying bile acids, identified compound, called holanovoy acid. In 1919, Mr.. V. received the same acid from cholesterol, thus proving the chemical affinity of cholesterol and bile acids. There remained, however, still unclear whether the determination of the chemical affinity of this biological connection.
During this period of his scientific activity in. interested in the study of vitamins - organic substances necessary for humans and animals for normal growth and life support. In 1897. Netherlands physician Christiaan Eijkman described the disease beriberi, arising from the lack of food then the unknown substances, among which, as it turned out later, treated thiamin (vitamin B1). In 1906, Mr.. Frederick Goulend Hopkins found that a significant role for maintaining the viability of the organism play an 'additional nutritional factors'. Together with the Polish chemist Kazimierz Funk, who called these substances are vitamins, Hopkins in 1912. formulated the concept that the lack of specific vitamins in the diet causes certain diseases.
In the early 20-ies. study of vitamins went very active pace, despite the fact that the methods of chemical analysis was extremely difficult. However, the structure of vitamins remained unexplored, and their characteristics are often limited to the impact of their physiological effects. It has long been known, . that rickets - a disease, . in which children are softened bones, . - Meets, . usually, . in those regions, . where little sun, . and difficult to treat certain types of fat from the liver of fish, . containing substance, . called vitamin D,
. Healed rickets and those patients who were treated with ultraviolet rays, and in 1924. American physiologist Alfred Hess established that cure of rickets and some types of food irradiated with ultraviolet rays. This discovery led to the theory of the existence of pro-vitamin - a substance which is under the influence of, for example, ultraviolet irradiation is transformed into vitamin. Analysis of irradiated food in such a way showed that provitamins are sterols.
Hess invited. as a leading expert in sterols in New York, that together with him to undertake work to determine the chemical structure of vitamin D and its provitamin. V. from the beginning believed that the provitamin of vitamin D is cholesterol, because under the action of ultraviolet radiation, he discovered the properties of vitamin D. In the sample, however, contained a small admixture, which in 1927. Hess and B. called ergosterol. Net as vitamin - vitamin D2, or calciferol, - was obtained when exposed to ultraviolet irradiation ergosterin. In 1932, Mr.. V. and his colleagues have shown that pro-vitamin is another compound - 7-degidroholesterin. This substance, called vitamin D3 had the highest importance, since sterol formed naturally in animals and humans. The term 'vitamin D1' has been retained for the original mixture of calciferol and other sterols. Later. recalled: 'No one other vitamin research process did not go so strange and painful ways. "
In 1928, Mr.. scientist was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 'for work on the structure of sterols and their connection with vitamins'. In his opening speech on behalf of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences X.G. Sederbaum said: 'As a result, patient and highly skilled work in. able to obtain in pure form a few digitalis-glucosides and their connections ... Thus, . proved, . these herbal heart poisons directly linked, . one hand, . with cholesterol and bile acids, . on the other - with a heart poison of animal origin, . Bufotoxin, . who studied with great success [Henry] Wieland ',
. Next Sederbaum stressed the importance,. Studies of vitamin D.
Earlier in collaboration with biochemist Franz Knoop in. studied the reaction of ammonia with Sugar, trying to transform hydrocarbons into amino acids. The reaction products were, however, the imidazole derivatives - compounds containing a ring of three carbon atoms and two nitrogen atoms. Analysis of these substances found amino acid histidine and the compound histamine, which causes dilation of blood vessels and is now known to play a role in allergy and inflammatory. These studies are of interest for the group 'IG. Farben 'and other Germanic chemical and pharmaceutical companies, which provide in. everything necessary to conduct further research, with the task, requiring a permit.
Two Netherlands chemist B.K.P. Jansen and U.F. Donat, have suggested that vitamin B1, or thiamine, contains the imidazole ring. V. failed to prove that in this vitamin, except thiazol and pyrimidine rings, sulfur is present, but no imidazole ring. Later, researchers are studying the structure of colchicine, used in the treatment of cancer, and the stereochemistry of ring structures. Establish in 1932. V. sterinovogo ring structure has allowed his assistant Adolf Butenandt explain the structure of sex hormones.
Despite the fact that in. belonged to the opponents of the Nazi party and the policies of Adolf Hitler, the position occupied by him as a scientist, protect him and allow no interference continue to do. After 1938. he was not engaged in scientific research, and in 1944. resigned from the university.
In 1915, Mr.. V. married Elizabeth Rees. From this marriage were born two sons and a daughter. Scientist died aged 82 in Gottingen in 1959
In. received numerous awards, t.ch. Louis Pasteur Medal of the French Academy of Sciences (1938), the Goethe Medal of the Goethe Institute (1941) and Germany's government a large Order of Merit with the Star (1956). He was awarded honorary degrees from GцTttingen, and Munich, Freiburg and the University of Hannover.


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