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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Otto Diels

23 January 1876, Hamburg – 7 March 1954, Kiel

Otto Diels was an undergraduate student, did his doctorate and qualified as a professor under Emil Fischer at Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität's Institute of Chemistry. He was an associate professor of organic chemistry from 1914 to 1916 and then moved to Universität Kiel.

Diels laid the foundation for a new direction of research in chemistry, known as the ketene chemistry. He also helped elucidate the structure of certain chemical substances: the steroids, which include cholesterol.

He became famous for his discovery of a general principle of chemical reactions, which was later named after him and his student Kurt Alder as the Diels-Alder reaction. They were both awarded the Nobel Prize in 1950.