Famous Scientists

Emil Fischer

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Emil Fischer

Emil Hermann Fischer, more commonly known as Emil Fischer, was an eminent German chemist. He received the 1902 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his influential research regarding the purines and the carbohydrates.

Early Life and Education:

Born in Euskirchen near Bonn, Germany in 1852, Emil Fischer’s father, Lorenz Fischer, was a local businessman who wanted his son to become a chemist. Emil Fischer started attending the University at Bonn in 1871, where took the classes of Rudolf Clausius and August Kekule. In 1874, he received his doctorate from the University of Strasbourg under Adolph von Baeyer.

Contributions and Achievements:

Fischer also assisted Baeyer in his research laboratory. He accompanied Baeyer to Munich in 1875, becoming a Privatdozent in 1878, and an assistant professor in 1879. Three years later, he assumed the position of Professor and Director of the Chemistry Institute at Erlangen in 1882. Fischer was also a successor to A. W. von Hofmann, as a director of the Chemistry Institute of Berlin.

Following his stay at Baeyer’s laboratory, Fischer implemented the classical chemical methods into organic chemistry, in an effort to demonstrate the structure of biological compounds for instance sugars, proteins and purines. He also worked on the organic synthesis of (+) glucose.

Fischer had three sons; two of whom became medical doctors and died as soldiers during World War I. Hermann Fischer, his third son, became a famous biochemist.

Later Life and Death:

Emil Fischer studied the enzymes and the chemical substances in the lichens in his later years. He formulated a “Lock and Key Model” in 1890 for the visualization of the substrate and enzyme interaction. Fischer died in Berlin on July 15, 1919. He was 66 years old.

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