10 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry That You Should Know

What is the Nobel Prize for Chemistry? The award has been given out since 1901. Who won the last time? What was their achievement?

Nobel Prizes are awarded annually by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. They recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to chemistry or physics.

Chemists have developed new ways to study chemical reactions, discovering new compounds and developing new drugs. In particular, chemists have discovered more efficient methods to synthesize organic molecules. These discoveries have led to new pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics, anti-cancer agents and treatments for diseases such as AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

Hermann Emil Fischer

You’ve probably heard of Hermann Emil Fischer before. He was a German chemist who discovered the chemical structure of purines in 1884.

Born in 1852, Fischer studied chemistry at Jena University before moving to Leipzig where he graduated in 1875. His research focused on the structure of organic compounds, particularly alkaloids. He discovered the structure of morphine, quinine and nicotine.

The discovery of the structure of heroin (1886) was a major breakthrough in the field of organic chemistry. This achievement earned him the Nobel Prize in 1902, becoming the first chemist to win two Nobels.

Marie Curie

Nobel Laureates in Chemistry Marie Curie

Nobel Laureates in Chemistry Marie Curie


Marie Curie was a Polish physicist who received two Nobel Prizes for her groundbreaking research. While she has been called the «mother of radioactivity». Marie Curie discovered radium in 1898. Radium is a rare radioactive element that emits radiation. 

Marie Curie was born Marya Sklodowska in Warsaw, Poland in 1867. She studied physics at the University of Paris. Marie Curie was an extraordinary woman who changed her life and the course of history. From an early age, she had a passion for science. At the age of 14, she started studying natural sciences at the Sorbonne University in Paris. Her studies took her around Europe, where she met Pierre Curie, a physicist. Together they worked on radioactivity, discovering radium and polonine. In 1903, Marie became a professor of physics at the Sorbonne. She continued her research until she died from cancer in 1934. 

Marie Curie has inspired generations of scientists and women alike. She showed us that anyone can achieve success. And now, let’s take a look at some of her greatest achievements.

Otto Hahn

Otto Hahn was born in 1879 in Karlsruhe, Germany. 

The discovery of fission, also known as nuclear chain reaction, is credited to Otto Hahn. This discovery led to the development of atomic bombs. Hahn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1944 for his contribution to the discovery of nuclear fission.

Hahn worked at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin from 1903 until 1932. During this time, he developed the method of mass spectrometry, which allowed scientists to identify elements in minute quantities. The invention of the mass spectrograph, which measures the mass of particles, revolutionized the field of chemistry. This technique has since become essential in research laboratories around the world.

Frederick Sanger

Who was Frederick Sanger? He was a British scientist who played a key role in developing DNA sequencing techniques. Sanger discovered the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), or genetic material, and published his findings in 1953. The technique has since become widely used in molecular biology and the reason for which he was awarded with his second Nobel Prize in 1980.

Luis Federico Leloir

Luis Federico Leloir was born on the 18th of July, 1926 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He studied chemistry at the University of Buenos Aires and later moved to Paris to study medicine. 

Dr. Leloir discovered a new way to synthesize large quantities of peptides using inexpensive chemicals and simple laboratory equipment. This breakthrough allowed scientists to create drugs and other pharmaceutical compounds. His discovery has had a profound impact on medicine and health care. Became the winner of the Nobel prize in 1970.

Robert Huber

He was born on February 20, 1937 in Munich. In 1988 he received the Nobel Prize together with Johann Deisenhofer and Hartmut Michel. The trio was recognized for crystallizing, for the first time, a protein important for photosynthesis in cyanobacteria and for determining the structure of this protein by X-ray crystallography.

Dan Shechtman

Dan Shechtman was awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery of quasicrystals. 

Shechtman was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, and studied physics at Ben Gurion University. In 1984, he discovered a new form of matter called quasicrystals, which had never before been seen in nature. His research was recognized with the 1985 Nobel Prize for Physics.

Quasicrystals are crystals that look like they’ve been cut into pieces. They don’t follow the rules of crystallography (the study of crystal structures), meaning they aren’t regular or orderly. Quasicrystals have been around since the 19th century, but only recently has anyone managed to create them in the laboratory.

Jacobus Henricus van ‘t Hoff

Jacobus H. van ‘T Hoff (1852 – 1923) was a Dutch chemist who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He is also known as “the father of thermodynamics”. In 1884 he published his famous book entitled On the Equilibrium of Chemical Systems, which became a classic textbook in chemistry.

In 1901 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery of the laws of chemical dynamics and osmotic pressure in chemical solutions, becoming the first winner in this category of the Nobel Prizes awarded that year.

William Ramsay

Who was William Ramsay? What did he achieve? And why is his name associated with the discovery of new elements?

Born in 1852 in Scotland, William Ramsay studied chemistry and worked until his death in 1916. During his career, Ramsay discovered the gases argon, neon, krypton and xenon, which led to the creation of the noble gas section of the periodic table. Received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1904.


Eduard Buchner

Eduard Buchner was a German chemist who discovered the fermentative power of yeasts in 1884. He isolated a new type of yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae from beer fermentation.

This discovery led to a revolution in food production. Today, bakeries around the globe use this yeast to produce bread, cakes, cookies, pizza dough, etc. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1907 «for his research in biochemistry and for his discovery of non-cellular fermentation».