Famous Swiss Chemists

The Swiss have always been on the forefront when it comes to science and technology. Throughout the past several centuries Swiss scientists have made several important contributions to the development of science at the global level. Swiss born chemist Germain Henri Hess was a doctor who formulated Hess's law, an early principle of thermochemistry. He also discovered that the oxidation of sugars yielded saccharic acid. Swiss chemists have made notable contributions to several fields of the subject, both in organic and inorganic chemistry. Alfred Werner, who proposed the octahedral configuration of transition metal complexes and developed the basis for modern coordination chemistry, became the first inorganic chemist to win the Nobel Prize. Another prominent chemist, Albert Hofmann was the first person to isolate, synthesize, and name the principal psychedelic mushroom compounds psilocybin and psilocin. Switzerland has produced several Nobel Prize winning chemists including Paul Karrer who won a share of the prize for his research on vitamins and Leopold Ružička who was honored for his work on polymethylenes and higher terpenes. This section provides you information about the life and works of famous Swiss 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 
Albert Hofmann
(The First Person to Synthesize LSD)

Albert Hofmann
4
Birthdate: January 11, 1906
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Baden
Died: April 29, 2008

Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann was the first known person to synthesize the psychedelic effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Interested in science from a young age, he studied chemistry at the University of Zürich. As a chemist, he conducted several significant studies and authored more than 100 scientific articles and books. He was a recipient of the prestigious Scheele Award.

 2 
Alfred Werner
(Chemist)

Alfred Werner
3
Birthdate: December 12, 1866
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mulhouse, Haut-Rhin, Alsace, France
Died: November 15, 1919

Alfred Werner was a Swiss chemist who is credited with developing the fundamental for modern coordination chemistry. In 1913, he became the first inorganic chemist to receive the prestigious Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which he won for proposing the correct configuration of transition metal complexes.

 3 
Ignacy Mościcki
(Polish chemist)

Ignacy Mościcki
3
Birthdate: December 1, 1867
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mierzanowo
Died: October 2, 1946

Born in a small Polish village, Ignacy Mościcki grew up to become a chemist, an academic, and a researcher, before he stepped into politics. He later served Poland as its longest-serving president. Initially a supporter of Polish dictator Józef Piłsudski, he became more liberal after Piłsudski’s death.

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 4 

Richard R. Ernst
3
Birthdate: August 14, 1933
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Winterthur, Switzerland
Died: June 4, 2021

Richard R. Ernst is a Swiss physical chemist whose work on Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy earned him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1991. Over the course of his career, Ernst has been honored with other awards, including the John Gamble Kirkwood Medal. In 2009, he became the subject of a documentary film titled Science Plus Dharma Equals Social Responsibility.

 5 

Vladimir Prelog
3
Birthdate: July 23, 1906
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Died: January 7, 1998

Vladimir Prelog was a Croatian-Swiss organic chemist known for his research into the stereochemistry of organic molecules and reactions. He received his Sc.D under the guidance of prominent chemist and composer Emil Votoček. He had a successful academic career and received the 1975 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He was also a member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.  

 6 

Paul Hermann Müller
2
Birthdate: January 12, 1899
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Olten, Solothurn, Switzerland
Died: October 12, 1965

Paul Hermann Müller was a Swiss chemist known for his discovery of insecticidal qualities and the use of DDT in the control of vector diseases. He received the 1948 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for this work. He began his career as a research chemist and later became the Deputy Director of Scientific Research on Substances for Plant Protection. 

 7 
Jean Piccard
(Chemist)

Jean Piccard
3
Birthdate: January 28, 1884
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Basel, Switzerland
Died: January 28, 1963

Swiss-born American chemist Jean Piccard and academic had been associated with various institutes, such as the universities of Chicago, Minnesota, and Lausanne. He was also a passionate balloonist and conducted balloon flights for his research on cosmic rays and the stratosphere. He also collaborated with his balloonist wife on many inventions.

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 8 

Lavoslav Ružička
2
Birthdate: September 13, 1887
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vukovar, Croatia
Died: September 26, 1976

Nobel Prize-winning Croatian-Swiss chemist Lavoslav Ružička is remembered for his research on cyclic compounds. He also taught in the Netherlands and Switzerland. Apart from studying the rings of muskone and civetone molecules, he also discovered the molecular structures of male hormones such as testosterone and androsterone.

 9 

Kurt Wüthrich
2
Birthdate: October 4, 1938
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Aarberg

Nobel Prize-winning Swiss biophysicist and chemist Kurt Wüthrich is best known for developing the NMR technique for studying large biological molecules. Initially a professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, he was also later associated with the Scripps Research Institute. He later became a permanent resident of China.

 10 

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

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.

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

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.

 12 

Tadeusz Reichstein
2
Birthdate: July 20, 1897
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wloclawek, Poland
Died: August 1, 1996

Swiss chemist Tadeusz Reichstein is remembered for his Nobel Prize-winning research on the hormones of the adrenal cortex. He also taught pharmaceutical chemistry and organic chemistry at the University of Basel and independently discovered the synthesis of vitamin C. At 99, he was the oldest-living Nobel laureate until his death.

 13 

Germain Henri Hess
2
Birthdate: August 7, 1802
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Died: December 30, 1850

Initially a physician, Germain Henri Hess later focused on chemistry and eventually came up with the Hess's law of thermochemistry. The Swiss-born scientist had grown up and conducted his research in Russia, where his artist father worked. His book Fundamentals of Pure Chemistry was a staple text in Russia for years.

 14 
Paul Karrer
(Chemist)

Paul Karrer
1
Birthdate: April 21, 1889
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Moscow
Died: June 18, 1971

Nobel Prize-winning Russian-born Swiss chemist Paul Karrer is best remembered for his research on carotenoids, vitamins A and B2, and flavins. Associated with the University of Zurich, he also worked as a chemist at the Georg Speyer Haus in Frankfurt. His penned the famous Textbook of Organic Chemistry, too.

Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac
1
Birthdate: April 24, 1817
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Died: April 15, 1894

While he initially aspired to become a mining engineer, Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac later worked at a porcelain factory and eventually became a professor of chemistry and mineralogy. He is remembered for his research on atomic weights and rare earth elements. He discovered ytterbium and co-discovered gadolinium, too.

Nicolas-Théodore de Saussure
0
Birthdate: October 14, 1767
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Died: April 18, 1845

Swiss plant physiologist and chemist Nicolas-Théodore de Saussure made pioneering developments in phytochemistry and is considered one of the major researchers of photosynthesis. His rich articles were featured in Annals of Chemistry. Born to alpinist, physicist, and meteorologist Horace-Bénédict de Saussure, he was drawn to science since childhood.

 17 
Werner Kuhn
(Professor)

Werner Kuhn
0
Birthdate: February 6, 1899
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: near Zürich, Switzerland
Died: August 27, 1963

Swiss chemist Werner Kuhn was known for his pioneering model of the viscosity of polymer solutions, which he created using statistical mechanics. A chemical engineer, he taught physical chemistry at the University of Kiel and later headed the University of Basel as its director and then rector.