Famous German Chemists

The fact that Germany alone has so many Nobel Laureates in chemistry aptly describes the country’s grand contribution in the subject. Their research and investigation in the field of chemistry has been exemplary for mankind as it has led to many discoveries and inventions. Germans scientists have contributed in varied sub-fields of chemistry, such as plant pigmentation, thermochemistry, carotenoids, vitamins, discovery in the field of macromolecular chemistry, and so on that have greatly impacted the life of people. Robert Bunsen was amongst the earliest known German chemists of the world. A pioneer in photochemistry, he developed several gas-analytical methods and was also the man behind the Bunsen burner, named after him, which was used in laboratories then. Some other greatest German chemists of all time include Hermann Emil Fischer, Fritz Haber, Richard Kuhn, Otto Hahn, Kurt Alder, Gerhard Ertl and Stefan W Hell. All of them and many more have left an indelible mark on the field of chemistry and impacted our lives with their outstanding work and contribution. Right from Haber’s development and weaponizing of chlorine and other poisonous gases during World War I to Baeyer’s synthesis of indigo that coloured our jeans blue, German chemists need to be credited time and again. With this segment, find out more about famous German chemists.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Fritz Haber

Fritz Haber.
4
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: December 9, 1868
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Wrocław
Died: January 29, 1934

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.

 2 Otto Hahn

Otto Hahn.
4
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: March 8, 1879
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Frankfurt
Died: July 28, 1968
Nobel Prize-winning German chemist Otto Hahn is remembered for revolutionary discovery of nuclear fission, along with Fritz Strassmann. Born to a glazier, he was pushed to study architecture but chose chemistry instead. He spent his final years grieving the death of his only son in a car accident.
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 3 Robert Bunsen

Robert Bunsen.
3
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: March 30, 1811
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Göttingen
Died: August 16, 1899

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.

 4 Justus von Liebig

Justus von Liebig.
3
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: May 12, 1803
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Darmstadt, Germany
Died: April 18, 1873

 5 Joachim Sauer

Joachim Sauer.
4
Famous As: Chemist, University teacher
Birthdate: April 19, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hosena

 6 Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge

Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge
4
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: February 8, 1794
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: March 25, 1867

 7 August Kekulé

August Kekulé
3
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: September 7, 1829
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Darmstadt, Germany
Died: July 13, 1896
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 8 George de Hevesy

George de Hevesy
3
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: August 1, 1885
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Budapest, Austria-Hungary
Died: July 5, 1966

 9 Friedrich Wöhler

Friedrich Wöhler
3
Famous As: German chemist
Birthdate: July 31, 1800
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Eschersheim
Died: September 23, 1882

 10 Wilhelm Ostwald

Wilhelm Ostwald.
3
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: September 2, 1853
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Riga
Died: April 4, 1932

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.

 11 Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner

Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner
3
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: December 13, 1780
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hof, Germany
Died: March 24, 1849

 12 Carl Wilhelm Scheele

Carl Wilhelm Scheele
3
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: December 9, 1742
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Stralsund, Germany
Died: May 21, 1786

 13 Hennig Brand

Hennig Brand
3
Famous As: Merchant
Birthdate: 1630 AD
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: 1710 AD

 14 Clara Immerwahr

Clara Immerwahr
3
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: June 21, 1870
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wojczyce, Poland
Died: May 2, 1915

 15 Carl Bosch

Carl Bosch.
3
Famous As: Chemist & Engineer
Birthdate: August 27, 1874
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cologne, Germany
Died: April 26, 1940

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.

 16 Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim

Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim
3
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: August 7, 1987
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Heppenheim, Germany

 17 Joseph von Fraunhofer

Joseph von Fraunhofer
3
Famous As: Physicist, Astronomer, Chemist
Birthdate: March 6, 1787
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Straubing
Died: June 7, 1826

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.

 18 Hermann Staudinger

Hermann Staudinger.
3
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: March 23, 1881
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Worms, Grand Duchy of Hesse, German Empire
Died: September 8, 1965

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. 

 19 Charles Pfizer

Charles Pfizer
4
Famous As: Chemist, Entrepreneur
Birthdate: March 22, 1824
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ludwigsburg
Died: October 19, 1906

 20 Adolf von Baeyer

Adolf von Baeyer.
3
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: October 31, 1835
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Berlin
Died: August 20, 1917

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.

 21 Hans Fischer

Hans Fischer.
3
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: July 27, 1881
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Höchst on Main, Germany
Died: March 31, 1945

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. 

 22 Walther Nernst

Walther Nernst.
3
Famous As: Physicist and Chemist
Birthdate: June 25, 1864
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wąbrzeźno
Died: November 18, 1941

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.

 23 Martin Heinrich Klaproth

Martin Heinrich Klaproth
3
Famous As: Chemist, Pharmacist, University teacher
Birthdate: December 1, 1743
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Wernigerode
Died: January 1, 1817

 24 Felix Hoffmann

Felix Hoffmann
3
Famous As: Chemist, Inventor, Pharmacist, Non-fiction writer
Birthdate: January 21, 1868
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ludwigsburg
Died: February 8, 1946

 25 August Wilhelm von Hofmann

August Wilhelm von Hofmann
3
Famous As: Chemist, University teacher
Birthdate: April 8, 1818
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Gießen
Died: May 5, 1892

 26 Hermann Emil Fischer

Hermann Emil Fischer.
2
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: October 9, 1852
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Euskirchen
Died: July 15, 1919

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.

 27 Fritz Strassmann

Fritz Strassmann
3
Famous As: Chemist, University teacher
Birthdate: February 22, 1902
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Boppard
Died: April 22, 1980

 28 Eduard Buchner

Eduard Buchner.
3
Famous As: Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
Birthdate: May 20, 1860
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Munich
Died: August 13, 1917

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.

 29 Richard Kuhn

Richard Kuhn.
2
Famous As: Biochemist
Birthdate: December 3, 1900
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria-Hungary
Died: August 1, 1967

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.

 30 Manfred Eigen

Manfred Eigen.
2
Famous As: Biophysical Chemist
Birthdate: May 9, 1927
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bochum, Germany

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.

 31 Gerhard Ertl

Gerhard Ertl
2
Famous As: Physicist, Chemist, University teacher
Birthdate: October 10, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Stuttgart

 32 Adolf Butenandt

Adolf Butenandt
2
Famous As: Biochemist, Chemist, Politician, University teacher
Birthdate: March 24, 1903
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bremerhaven
Died: January 18, 1995

 33 Karl Ziegler

Karl Ziegler.
2
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: November 26, 1898
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: November 26, 1898, Helsa, Germany
Died: August 12, 1973

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.

 34 Rudolf Erich Raspe

Rudolf Erich Raspe
2
Famous As: Librarian
Birthdate: February 29, 1736
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hannover, Germany
Died: November 1, 1794

 35 Georg Ernst Stahl

Georg Ernst Stahl
2
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: October 22, 1659
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ansbach, Germany
Died: May 14, 1734

 36 Ida Noddack

Ida Noddack
2
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: February 25, 1896
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Wesel, Germany
Died: September 24, 1978

 37 Kurt Alder

Kurt Alder.
2
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: July 10, 1902
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Königshütte (Chorzów), Silesia
Died: June 20, 1958

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.

 38 Richard Willstätter

Richard Willstätter
2
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: August 13, 1872
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Karlsruhe
Died: August 3, 1942

 39 Christian Friedrich Schönbein

Christian Friedrich Schönbein
2
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: October 18, 1799
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Metzingen, Germany
Died: August 29, 1868

 40 Julius Lothar Meyer

Julius Lothar Meyer
2
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: August 19, 1830
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Varel, Germany
Died: April 11, 1895

 41 Georg Wittig

Georg Wittig.
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Famous As: Organic Chemist
Birthdate: June 16, 1897
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: August 26, 1987

 42 Otto Diels

Otto Diels.
2
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: January 23, 1876
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hamburg, German Empire
Died: March 7, 1954

 43 Hermann Kolbe

Hermann Kolbe
2
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: September 27, 1818
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Elliehausen, Germany
Died: November 25, 1884

 44 Ernst Otto Fischer

Ernst Otto Fischer.
2
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: November 10, 1918
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Solln, near Munich, German Empire
Died: July 23, 2007

 45 Viktor Meyer

Viktor Meyer
2
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: September 8, 1848
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: August 8, 1897

 46 Ludwig Mond

Ludwig Mond
2
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: March 7, 1839
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kassel, Germany
Died: December 11, 1909

 47 Andreas Sigismund Marggraf

Andreas Sigismund Marggraf
2
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: March 3, 1709
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: August 7, 1782

 48 Otto Wallach

Otto Wallach.
1
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: March 27, 1847
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Königsberg
Died: February 26, 1931

 49 Friedrich Bergius

Friedrich Bergius.
1
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: October 11, 1884
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Breslau (Wrocław), Germany
Died: March 30, 1949

 50 Heinrich Otto Wieland

Heinrich Otto Wieland.
1
Famous As: Father of Biochemistry
Birthdate: June 4, 1877
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pforzheim
Died: August 5, 1957

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.