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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Emil Fischer

9 October 1852, Euskirchen - 15 July 1919, Berlin-Wannsee

Emil Fischer came to Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in 1892. In 1900 the first Institute of Chemistry moved into a new, then ultra-modern building in Hessische Strasse. Fischer was its director for almost 30 years. In 1911 he founded the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, the predecessor of the Max Planck Society.

As a founder of biochemistry, Fischer was of the most important natural-product chemists in the 19th and 20 centuries. He conducted fundamental studies on the structure, synthesis and reactivity of carbohydrates, amino acids, tannins and uric acid derivatives. He also developed the lock-and-key theory of enzyme action and synthesized glucose, caffeine and barbituric acid derivatives as a sleeping drug.

Fischer was the first German chemist to be awarded Nobel Prize in 1902 - for his work on sugar and purine. The Emil Fischer Haus, Humboldt-Universität's Institute of Chemistry on the Adlershof Campus, is named after him.