Otto Diels Biography
Birthday: January 23, 1876 (Aquarius)
Born In: Hamburg, Germany
Otto Diels or Otto Paul Herman Diels was a German scientist who received the Nobel Prize in chemistry for developing a process by which cyclic organic compounds could be obtained. This process was called the ‘diene synthesis’ or the ‘Diels-Alder reaction’. He shared the Nobel Prize with another scientist, Kurt Alder, who had worked jointly with him in developing the process. His work led to the production of synthetic plastics and rubber. His initial research was in the field of inorganic chemistry during which he discovered a highly reactive substance known as ‘carbon suboxide’. He later changed his research to encompass the domain of organic chemistry. His process of using selenium to remove hydrogen atoms from cyclic organic compounds not only helped the synthesis of plastics and rubber but also became a useful tool for finding out the complicated chemical structures of a series of steroids. He was successful in dehydrogenating cholesterol with the help of selenium which produced a skeletal structure of steroids. During the period when he was at the ‘University of Kiel’, he worked with Kurt Alder to develop the ‘Diels-Alder reaction’ which helped to synthesize unsaturated cyclic organic compounds leading to the production of synthetic plastic and rubber compounds, alkaloids and insecticides at a low cost without using any catalyst, reagent, high temperature or pressure.