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CV Hermann Staudinger

 Hermann Staudinger (left) with one of his students

1953 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1881-1965

Hermann Staudinger, born in Worms in 1881, studied chemistry in Halle, Darmstadt, and Munich, and earned his doctorate from the University of Halle in 1903. After receiving his professorial lecturing qualification at the University of Strasbourg in 1907 he served for a few years as associate professor for organic chemistry at the Technical University of Karlsruhe before accepting a chair in chemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (1912-1926). In 1926 he received a professorship at the Albert-Ludwig University in Freiburg, where he remained for the rest of his career. He was director of the chemical laboratory until 1951 and head of the State Research Insitute for Macromolecular Chemistry until 1956 - the first research center in Europe to be devoted exclusively to the study of macromolecules in nature and technology as well as the new research field of polymer science. Staudinger himself had founded the institute in 1940.

Hermann Staudinger is the father of macromolecular chemistry. As early as 1920, he discovered that natural fibers, rubber, and plastics are composed of high-molecular compounds (macromolecules, polymers). His concepts concerning the polymer structures of fibers, plastics, and elastomers were revolutionary and instrumental in bringing about a change in the development of polymeric materials: away from purely empirical optimization towards molecular material design. His work in Freiburg on synthetic and biological macromolecules formed the basis for countless modern innovations in materials research and the life sciences and paved the way for the rapid growth in the industrial production of plastics.

Staudinger received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1953 for his pioneering work on macromolecules. On April 19th 1999 the American Chemical Society paid tribute to his laboratory in Freiburg as the birthplace of polymer sciences and named it an "international historic landmark of chemistry".

The historical photograph above comes from the University of Freiburg's tribute to the outstanding achievements of Hermann Staudinger.

pdficon.gif Tribute to Hermann Staudinger as a pdf file (1.9 MB, in German)



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