Fritz Haber was a German chemist who was honored with the prestigious Nobel Prize in Chemistry for inventing the Haber-Bosch process. The process is used widely to synthesize ammonia from hydrogen gas and nitrogen gas. For his pioneering work in weaponizing poisonous gases like chlorine during World War I, Haber is referred to as the father of chemical warfare.
Chemist Robert Bunsen paved the path for spectrum analysis with his discovery that every element emits a light of a particular wavelength. He also co-developed and lent his name to the Bunsen burner. He almost died of arsenic poisoning and lost sight in his right eye in a laboratory explosion.
German chemist Justus von Liebig is best known for his research on organic compounds and his contribution to biochemistry and agriculture. The Copley Medal-winning scientist initially studied pharmacy but later switched to chemistry. As a professor, he stressed on laboratory-based teaching of chemistry and separating it from pharmacy, opposing traditional methods.
August Kekulé was a German organic chemist. Regarded as one of the most important chemists in Europe, Kekulé is credited with founding the theory of chemical structure, including the Kekulé structure of benzene. Kekulé is also credited with teaching future Nobel Prize winners, Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff Jr., Hermann Emil Louis Fischer, and Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Adolf von Baeyer.
Friedrich Wöhler was a German chemist best remembered for his contribution to the field of inorganic chemistry. He was the first person to isolate the chemical elements yttrium and beryllium in pure metallic form. Friedrich Wöhler was also the first person to prepare many inorganic compounds such as silicon nitride and silane.
Born to a German merchant, Carl Wilhelm Scheele was initially trained as a pharmacist but later switched to chemistry. He began his academic career in Sweden. He is best known for discovering oxygen, apart from countless chemical elements such as barium and chlorine and many organic acids.
Wilhelm Ostwald was a Baltic German philosopher and chemist who is credited with co-founding the field of physical chemistry. A polymath, Ostwald made significant contributions to philosophy, art, and politics, especially after his retirement from academic life. His contributions to the fields of reaction velocities, chemical equilibria, and catalysis earned him the 1909 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Joachim Sauer is a German professor emeritus of theoretical and physical chemistry at the prestigious Humboldt University of Berlin. Sauer is an active research scientist in computational and quantum chemistry. His work has helped understand the structures and activities of catalysts like zeolites. Joachim Sauer has won several prestigious awards such as the Schrödinger Medal and Liebig Medal.
Clara Immerwahr was a German chemist who became the first German woman to receive a doctorate in chemistry. Apart from being a chemist, Clara Immerwahr was also a pacifist and a women's rights activist. Her work, marriage with the popular chemist Fritz Haber, and her suicide at the age of 44 have inspired films, novels, and TV series.
Carl Bosch was a German engineer and chemist. He is credited with founding IG Farben, which went on to become one of the largest chemical companies in the world. He is also credited with developing the Haber–Bosch process, which is used even today for the production of ammonia. Carl Bosch was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1931.
Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge was a German analytical chemist best remembered for identifying caffeine. He is also credited with identifying the mydriatic effects of belladonna extract and discovering the first coal tar dye. Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge was also the first person to observe the phenomenon of Liesegang rings in 1855.
German chemist Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner was born amid poverty but managed to get training as an apothecary. After his university education, he taught at the University of Jena. His discovery of the fact that certain chemical elements were similar later led to the development of the periodic law of chemistry.
Apart from being an army officer and a physician, Hennig Brand was also an alchemist who was constantly looking for the mythical philosopher’s stone. His research led him to discover phosphorus by accident, which he kept a secret, though it was later formally discovered by Robert Boyle from England.
Hermann Staudinger was a German organic chemist whose demonstration of the existence of polymers earned him the prestigious Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1953. He also played a key role in the development of pyrethroid insecticides as he was able to explain clearly the molecular structures of pyrethrin I and pyrethrin II. Hermann Staudinger is also credited with discovering ketenes.
Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim is a German chemist, television presenter, science communicator, and YouTuber. A multi-talented personality, Nguyen-Kim has won many prestigious awards such as the Grimme Online Award, Georg von Holtzbrinck Prize for Science Journalism, Hanns Joachim Friedrichs Award, and Heinz Oberhummer Award for Science Communication.
Adolf von Baeyer was a German chemist who is best known for synthesizing indigo. Interested in science from a young age, he studied chemistry at the University of Heidelberg, where his mentor was the prominent organic chemist August Kekulé. He went on to have a successful career and received the 1905 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Walther Nernst was a German chemist best remembered for his work in physical chemistry, thermodynamics, solid state physics, and electrochemistry. He is credited with formulating the Nernst heat theorem, which was in turn used in the formulation of the third law of thermodynamics. Walther Nernst received the prestigious Nobel Prize in Chemistry in the year 1920.
Joseph von Fraunhofer was a Bavarian optical lens manufacturer and physicist. He is credited with developing diffraction grating and inventing the spectroscope. He is also credited with discovering the Fraunhofer lines, the dark absorption lines produced in the spectrum of the sun. The Fraunhofer Society, Europe's biggest Society for the Advancement of Applied Research, is named in his honor.
Hermann Emil Fischer was a German chemist who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1902. He is credited with discovering the Fischer esterification, which is named in his honor. He is also credited with developing the Fischer projection, which was originally used for the depiction of carbohydrates. Several chemical reactions and concepts like Fischer glycosidation are named after him.
Felix Hoffmann was a German chemist best remembered for re-synthesizing diamorphine, which was later popularized as heroin. Hoffmann is also known for synthesizing aspirin, although it is still unclear whether he synthesized it on his own or under the direction of Arthur Eichengrün. In 2002, Felix Hoffmann was inducted into the US National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Hans Fischer was a German organic chemist best known for his research into the constitution of haemin and chlorophyll, for which he was awarded the 1930 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. During the early years of his career, he worked at the First Berlin Chemical Institute under Emil Fischer. He later pursued an academic career.
Nobel Prize-winning German biochemist Eduard Buchner was the first to demonstrate how the enzymes in yeast cause the fermentation of carbohydrates. He also taught at various universities, such as Berlin and Breslau. He died in the Battle of Mărășești, while serving as a major, during World War I.
Richard Kuhn was an Austrian-German biochemist whose work on vitamins and carotenoids earned him the prestigious Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1938. Over the course of his illustrious career, Richard Kuhn also won several other prestigious awards, such as the Wilhelm Exner Medal in 1952 and the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art in 1961.
Remembered for his research on rapid chemical reactions, Nobel Prize-winning German physicist Manfred Eigen was born to a musician father and was initially interested in the piano. Eigen was part of the German army during World War II and later escaped the Soviets to join the University of Göttingen.
German-Canadian physicist Gerhard Herzberg is remembered for his Nobel Prize-winning work on ascertaining the electronic structure of molecules, particularly free radicals. He had escaped to Canada following the rise of the Nazis and later also worked in the U.S. His doctoral students included Japanese chemist Takeshi Oka.
Karl Ziegler was a German chemist whose work on polymers earned him the prestigious Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1963, which he shared with Giulio Natta. Ziegler is also renowned for his work involving organometallic compounds and free-radicals. He is also credited with developing Ziegler-Natta catalyst. During his career, Ziegler won many awards, including the Werner von Siemens Ring.
Adolf Butenandt was a German biochemist best remembered for winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on sex hormones. Butenandt rejected the award in 1939, but accepted it later in 1949. Adolf Butenandt is also credited with discovering the structure of silkworms' sex pheromone, which he named bombykol.
Kurt Alder was a German chemist whose work on the Diels-Alder reaction, which is named after him and his teacher Diels, earned him the prestigious Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1950. Alder is also remembered for working with Ferdinand Münz, the inventor of EDTA. Over the course of his career, Kurt Alder won many prestigious awards and honorary degrees.
German chemist Richard Willstätter is best remembered for his Nobel Prize-winning research on chlorophyll and the structures of other plant pigments. He taught at ETH Zürich and the universities of Berlin and Munich but later resigned from his post at Munich as a protest against anti-Jew attacks.
German chemist Christian Friedrich Schönbein is best remembered for his discovery of ozone and the fuel cell. He also discovered guncotton, or nitrocellulose, as a result of a kitchen accident. He was an apprentice at a chemical firm at 13 and grew up to teach at the at the University of Basel.
Georg Wittig was a German chemist best remembered for winning the 1979 Nobel Prize in Chemistry alongside Herbert C. Brown. Wittig is also remembered for his association with the University of Tübingen, where he served as the chief of the organic chemistry department. Georg Wittig was also the recipient of the prestigious Otto Hahn Prize for Chemistry and Physics.
Otto Wallach was a German chemist best remembered for winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1910. He won the award for his work on alicyclic compounds. Wallach is also remembered for developing the Wallach rearrangement, the Leuckart-Wallach reaction, Wallach degradation, and Wallach's rule. In 1912, Otto Wallach was honored with the prestigious Davy Medal.
Heinrich Otto Wieland was a German chemist known for his research into bile acids, for which he won the 1927 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He studied under prominent chemist and professor Johannes Thiele at the University of Munich. He had a brilliant academic career and worked actively to protect Jewish students after the passage of the Nuremberg Laws.