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Rihard Wilshtetter

Picture of Rihard Wilshtetter

Date of Birth: 08/13/1872

Age: 69

Place of birth: Karlsruhe

Citizenship: Germany

Background

B. Bayer recommended his colleague Alfred Einhorn. So, working from Einhorn on the structure of cocaine and related compounds, B. began his career as a researcher. In 1894 he received his doctorate in chemistry, two years later became assistant professor (Visiting Professor), and in 1902 was appointed extraordinary professor (associate professor) at the Bayer laboratories. In 1905, B. was appointed professor of chemistry at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

In Zurich, B. began to do research chlorophyll green substance, which is contained in almost all flowering plants, mosses, ferns and algae. Chlorophyll plays an important role in photosynthesis - the process of turning green plants under light carbon dioxide and water in the sugar, starch and oxygen. At that time, when B. began his research, the structure of chlorophyll was not entirely clear. In 1906, it has been suggested that there are many different kinds of chlorophyll and plant kingdom that in each individual plant is a warehouse of an unlimited number of chlorophylls. If this theory were true, it would be very difficult to determine the chemical nature of photosynthesis, as the data obtained from experiments on one species of plant, would be of no value to researchers, considering their other types.

The significant contribution made by V. (largely in collaboration with his pupil Arthur Stoll) in the solution to this problem, different technological perfection. On the leaves of nettle, a cheap source of chlorophyll, available in large quantities, V. showed that chlorophyll there is one basic structure (tetrapyrrole, or a compound of four pyrrole rings of the central atom of magnesium). Moreover, he argued that while for chlorophyll a characteristic structure, there are two of its nearly identical forms a and b. Continuing his work, B. established the universality of chlorophyll a and b, exposing the analysis of more than 200 plants. Thus, he has demonstrated the presence of the world one of the fundamental structure of chlorophyll. Hence the conclusion that the photosynthesis occur everywhere the same chemical reactions. Having come to this discovery, B. Stoll and gave this assessment of some contradictory results obtained previously by researchers chlorophyll. They stated that these studies were conducted `with untreated chlorophyll. In fact, it generally was not chlorophyll. "

In 1912, yielding to the urging of his friend Hans Fischer, B. moved to the newly created Institute of the Kaiser Wilhelm in Berlin, where he continued his study of anthocyanins. Much of the red, blue and violet pigments plant comprises anthocyanins - compounds which can be extracted from the plant with an alcohol, ether or water. For example, due to anthocyanins water, which boils beets, it becomes red. B. found that the same structure with different colors may be soluble in water to form pigments. He found that most of the plants flower owes its color only three anthocyanin, which differ only in the number of hydroxyl groups on the same ring structures water-soluble. Flower color depends on a mixture of several and anthocyanins (for yellow) carotenoids. Ongoing B. anthocyanin studies were interrupted by the outbreak in 1914 of the first World War. Due to the injuries he had received a few years ago in the mountains, making the ascent, the scientist was released from military service.

In 1915, B. was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry `for the study of flora dyes, especially chlorophyll ". Because during the war, the awards ceremony was canceled, V. won only in 1920. In his Nobel lecture, he said: "The purpose of my work was to establish the structural characteristics of the most widely used plant pigments, especially chlorophyll, and find specific criteria related to their chemical functions. " B. Work on chlorophyll and anthocyanins showed that the basis of the diversity of plant pigments is only a few chemical compounds. Correlating this with the study of chlorophyll B. argued that the biochemical basis of photosynthesis, should be universal and, therefore, they should be the subject of scientific analysis.

In 1916 B. was elected professor of the University of Munich in place Bayer. However, at the end of the First World War, the scientific life in Germany has faced many difficulties due to galloping inflation and political instability. Nevertheless V. elected a new line of research, "to break into the unknown", and took up the study of enzymes (organic compounds that can cause changes, acting as catalysts), which neither he nor his colleagues knew almost nothing. However, by 1924 a significant intensification of anti-Semitism, and a number of the Jews - the candidates for university positions were not recruited. Responsible for the refusal to accept the candidate of Jewish origin was designated V. university official. In this regard, July 24, 1924 to protest the scientist resigns. B. successor at the university becomes Heinrich Wieland, which provides V. over the next few years the possibility of experimental work with leukocytes.

With life V. complicated the Nazis came to power (1933) Shortly after Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, Vladimir visited the United States and the United Kingdom. There he repeatedly offered positions related to research activities and teaching, but the scientist dismissed these suggestions, wanting to stay at home. In November 1938, his home was the police in order to arrest the Vladimir and sent to the Dachau (the first concentration camp in Nazi Germany Ed.), But his housekeeper could not hold the police to the garden, where the scientist was hiding at that time. Early next year, B. tried to flee to Switzerland (where he was offered shelter by his former pupil Arthur Stoll), but when V. crossed by boat Lake Constance, he was captured by the Gestapo. Later, after the intervention of the Swiss ambassador, Vladimir was allowed to leave Germany. In Switzerland, Stoll gave him the opportunity to stay at the villa "Hermitage", located near Locarno, where B. lived until his death. There scholar wrote an autobiography, which is called "On my life