Arthur Harden Biography

(British Biochemist & Winner of 1929 Nobel Prize in Chemistry)

Birthday: October 12, 1865 (Libra)

Born In: Lancashire, England, United Kingdom

Sir Arthur Harden was a famous English biochemist. He won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1929 for his work on the fermentation of sugar and the fermentative enzyme actions. The problem of the chemistry of yeast cell had always greatly intrigued him. His prior study of the action of light on mixtures of carbon dioxide and chlorine helped him apply these methods to the examination of the chemical action of bacteria and alcoholic fermentation. Harden studied the chemistry of the fermentation of sugar by yeast juice for over 20 years. This included the confirmation of Carl Neuberg’s discovery of carboxylase in yeast and the investigation of peroxidase and invertase. He also examined the role of inorganic salts in fermentation. This expanded the knowledge of intermediary metabolic processes and created a foundation for many biologists in similar fields. Harden also published papers on the antiscorbutic and antineuritic vitamins and their presence in food and drinks. He established the synthesis of the antiberiberi factor by yeast and by removing sugars, organic acids, and proteins from lemon juice, he prepared a concentrate with enhanced antiscorbutic activity that could treat infant scurvy. Throughout his career, he wrote and edited many chemistry textbooks. He also collaborated with Sir H. E. Roscoe in a study of Dalton’s notebooks.
Quick Facts

British Celebrities Born In October

Also Known As: Sir Arthur Harden

Died At Age: 74

Biochemists British Men

Died on: June 17, 1940

place of death: Bourne, England, United Kingdom

Grouping of People: Nobel Laureates in Chemistry

Notable Alumni: University Of Erlangen

City: Lancashire, England

More Facts

education: University Of Manchester, University Of Erlangen

awards: Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1929)
Davy Medal (1935)

Childhood & Early Life
Arthur Harden was born in Manchester, Lancashire, England, on October 12, 1865. His father was Albert Tyas Harden, a Manchester businessman and his mother was Eliza Macalister. He was the only son among eight daughters.
Harden maintained his family’s nonconformist and austere way of living throughout his life.
From 1873 to 1877, he was educated at a private school in Victoria Park.
For the next four years, he studied at Tettenhall College, Staffordshire.
In 1882, he entered The Owens College in the University of Manchester and started studying under Sir H.E. Roscoe.
Arthur Harden graduated in 1885 with a first-class honours in chemistry.
In 1886, he received the Dalton Scholarship in Chemistry and for the next one year, he worked with Otto Fischer at Erlangen.
In 1888, he received his doctorate degree. His dissertation was on the preparation and properties of β-nitrosonaphthylamine.
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After completing his Ph.D, Harden became a junior lecturer at the University of Manchester. He was later promoted to the position of senior lecturer and demonstrator.
Harden and Roscoe co-authored ‘A New View of the Origin of Dalton’s Atomic Theory’ which was published in 1896.
In 1897, he published a paper on the composition of the bronze and iron tools discovered by Flinders Petrie.
In 1897 Harden became head of the chemistry department at the British Institute of Preventive Medicine (Lister Institute) and started his research in microbiological chemistry.
In 1907 he was appointed Head of the Biochemical Department. He held this position until his retirement in 1930.
In 1911, his book ‘Alcoholic Fermentation’, on his findings of the fermentation process, was published.
From 1913 to 1938, Harden was Joint Editor (with W.M. Bayliss) of ‘The Biochemical Journal’.
In 1912 University of London conferred upon him the title of Emeritus Professor of Chemistry.
Major Works
Arthur Harden worked with William John Young to show that the capacity of yeast juice to ferment glucose was influenced by the addition of boiled yeast juice. They also found that phosphate combined with glucose, fructose, or mannose forms a hexose diphosphate, which can be hydrolyzed by a phosphatase present in the juice. Harden’s identification of the presence of phosphate esters in fermentation liquors was significant as it directed the attention of other researchers to phosphorus compounds as intermediates in fermentation and muscular respiration.
Awards & Achievements
In 1909, he became a Fellow of the Royal Society, London.
In 1926, he received Knighthood, the highest honor conferred upon a British citizen.
In 1929, Arthur Harden jointly won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Hans von Euler-Chelpin, the Swedish biochemist “for their investigations on the fermentation of sugar and fermentative enzymes".
Harden was honoured with honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Athens and honorary Doctor of Laws from the Universities of Manchester and Liverpool.
He received the Davy Medal awarded by the Royal Society of London in 1935.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1890, Harden got married to Georgina Sydeny Bridge, a citizen of Christchurch, New Zealand. They had no children.
His wife died in 1928, two years before Harden retired from the Lister Institute.
Arthur Harden died of a progressive nervous disease on 17 June 1940 at his home in Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, UK.

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