Paul Karrer - Chemists, Timeline and Life

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Paul Karrer's Personal Details

Paul Karrer was a Swiss Organic Chemist who synthesized various Vitamins and derived their structural formulas

InformationDetail
BirthdayApril 21, 1889
Died onJune 18, 1971
NationalitySwiss
FamousScientists, Chemists, Organic Chemists
SpousesHelena Froelich
Universities
  • University of Zurich
Birth PlaceMoscow
GenderMale
Sun SignTaurus
Born inMoscow
Famous asChemist
Died at Age82

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Paul Karrer's photo

Who is Paul Karrer?

Paul Karrer was a Swiss Organic Chemist who synthesized various Vitamins and derived their structural formulas for which he won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1937 along with Norman Haworth. He also worked on vegetable dyes. He constituted the carotenoids (yellow plant pigments), flavins, Vitamin A, Vitamin B2 and Vitamin K. He never drove or owned a car and did not consider leaving the University of Zurich, from where he graduated, and had his entire career there irrespective of several offers from various universities across the world.

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Childhood & Early Life

Paul Karrer was born in Moscow, Russia to Paul Karrer and Judi Lerch Karrer, both Swiss nationals on 21st April 1889. His father was a Dentist.

In 1892, the family returned to Switzerland, where Karrer did his schooling at Lenzburg, Aarau.

Career

Paul Karrer studied Chemistry at the University of Zurich under Alfred Werner and received his Ph.D in 1911. He worked as an Assistant with his professor for another year there.

He began an independent study of organic arsenic compounds and because of his further interest, went to Frankfurt, Germany, in 1912 to work with Paul Ehrlich, the famous German Drug Chemist and was there for six years.

In 1918, he returned to Zurich, where he was appointed a reader at the University of Zurich and in 1919, he became Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Chemical Institute there.

During 1920s he confined his studies mainly to the pigments of plants and natural products. In 1930s he solved the structures of Carotene and Lycopene which was a puzzle since long.

Karrer was very interested in Plant pigments and as he investigated the properties of Carotenoids, he came to know that one of its variants, beta-carotene, has a structure very similar to Vitamin A, also known as retinol, present in the eye. Lack of Vitamin A causes Night Blindness. By 1930, he deduced that beta-carotene is indeed converted to Vitamin A in animal bodies and came forth with its structure.

He synthesized Vitamin A (retinol) in 1931, Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) in 1935, Vitamin E (tocopherol) in 1938 and Vitamin K (phytonadione) in 1939. His lifetime’s research also covered Vitamin E and Vitamin B complex.

In 1942, Karrer contributed greatly to the understanding of the structure and function of Nicotine-amide-adenine dinucleotide (NAD), a coenzyme essential for the transfer of electrons in the energy system of the cell.

In 1950, he accomplished the total synthesis of carotenoids and retired in 1959.

Awards & Achievements

He received the prestigious Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1937 for his work on Carotenoids, flavins and Vitamins A and B2. He shared the prize with Walter Norman Haworth for his work in Vitamin C and Carbohydrates.

Dr. Karrer was given honorary degrees by Universities in Basel, Breslau, Lousanne, Zurich, Lyons, Paris, Sofia, London, Turin, Brussels, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Strasbourg.

Apart from Nobel Prize, he also won Marcel Benoist Prize and Cannizzaro prize, which are also major awards in the field of Chemistry.

Major Works

His textbook ‘Lehrbuch der Organischen Chemie’ (Textbook of Organic Chemistry) was published in 1927, and went through 13 editions and was published in 7 languages.

In his career, he published over 1000 research papers concerning Vitamins A, B2, C and E, coenzymes, carotenoids and other plant pigments, alkaloids, amino acids, carbohydrates and organo-arsenic compounds.

Karrer was the president of the 14th International Congress on Pure and Applied Chemistry (Zurich, 1955).

He was honorary member of several chemical and bio chemical societies across the world including Academie des Sciences (Paris), Royal Society (London), National Academy of Science (Washington), Royal Academy of Sciences (Stockholm), the National Academy (Rome), Royal Academy of Belgium, the Indian Academy of Science, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences and the chemical societies of Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, India and Austria.

Personal Life & Legacy

He was married to Helena Froelich in 1914. They had 2 sons.

He died at the age of 82 on June 18, 1971 in Zurich. His wife died in 1972.

The prestigious Paul Karrer Gold Medal was established in his honor in 1959 by a group of leading companies in this field such as CIBA AG, J. R. Geigy, F. Hoffman la Roche & Co. AG, Sandoz AG, Societe des Produits Nestle AG and Dr. A. Wander AG. It is awarded annually or biannually to an outstanding Chemist who delivers a lecture at the University of Zurich.

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Paul Karrer biography timelines

  • // 1000
    In his career, he published over 1000 research papers concerning Vitamins A, B2, C and E, coenzymes, carotenoids and other plant pigments, alkaloids, amino acids, carbohydrates and organo-arsenic compounds.
  • // 21st Apr 1889
    Paul Karrer was born in Moscow, Russia to Paul Karrer and Judi Lerch Karrer, both Swiss nationals on 21st April 1889. His father was a Dentist.
  • // 1892
    In 1892, the family returned to Switzerland, where Karrer did his schooling at Lenzburg, Aarau.
  • // 1911
    Paul Karrer studied Chemistry at the University of Zurich under Alfred Werner and received his Ph.D in 1911. He worked as an Assistant with his professor for another year there.
  • // 1912
    He began an independent study of organic arsenic compounds and because of his further interest, went to Frankfurt, Germany, in 1912 to work with Paul Ehrlich, the famous German Drug Chemist and was there for six years.
  • // 1914
    He was married to Helena Froelich in 1914. They had 2 sons.
  • // 1918 To 1919
    In 1918, he returned to Zurich, where he was appointed a reader at the University of Zurich and in 1919, he became Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Chemical Institute there.
  • // 1927
    His textbook ‘Lehrbuch der Organischen Chemie’ (Textbook of Organic Chemistry) was published in 1927, and went through 13 editions and was published in 7 languages.
  • // 1930
    Karrer was very interested in Plant pigments and as he investigated the properties of Carotenoids, he came to know that one of its variants, beta-carotene, has a structure very similar to Vitamin A, also known as retinol, present in the eye. Lack of Vitamin A causes Night Blindness. By 1930, he deduced that beta-carotene is indeed converted to Vitamin A in animal bodies and came forth with its structure.
  • // 1937
    He received the prestigious Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1937 for his work on Carotenoids, flavins and Vitamins A and B2. He shared the prize with Walter Norman Haworth for his work in Vitamin C and Carbohydrates.
  • // 1942
    In 1942, Karrer contributed greatly to the understanding of the structure and function of Nicotine-amide-adenine dinucleotide (NAD), a coenzyme essential for the transfer of electrons in the energy system of the cell.
  • // 1950 To 1959
    In 1950, he accomplished the total synthesis of carotenoids and retired in 1959.
  • // 1955
    Karrer was the president of the 14th International Congress on Pure and Applied Chemistry (Zurich, 1955).
  • // 1959
    The prestigious Paul Karrer Gold Medal was established in his honor in 1959 by a group of leading companies in this field such as CIBA AG, J. R. Geigy, F. Hoffman la Roche & Co. AG, Sandoz AG, Societe des Produits Nestle AG and Dr. A. Wander AG. It is awarded annually or biannually to an outstanding Chemist who delivers a lecture at the University of Zurich.
  • // 18th Jun 1971
    He died at the age of 82 on June 18, 1971 in Zurich. His wife died in 1972.

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Paul Karrer's FAQ

  • What is Paul Karrer birthday?

    Paul Karrer was born at 1889-04-21

  • When was Paul Karrer died?

    Paul Karrer was died at 1971-06-18

  • Where was Paul Karrer died?

    Paul Karrer was died in Zürich

  • Which age was Paul Karrer died?

    Paul Karrer was died at age 82

  • Where is Paul Karrer's birth place?

    Paul Karrer was born in Moscow

  • What is Paul Karrer nationalities?

    Paul Karrer's nationalities is Swiss

  • Who is Paul Karrer spouses?

    Paul Karrer's spouses is Helena Froelich

  • What was Paul Karrer universities?

    Paul Karrer studied at University of Zurich

  • What is Paul Karrer's sun sign?

    Paul Karrer is Taurus

  • How famous is Paul Karrer?

    Paul Karrer is famouse as Chemist