1881-1945

Hans Fischer

Location: Fourth Floor, West Wing, North Wall, Sequence 2

Source: Edgar Fahs Smith Collection

Sponsor: Chi-Kwong Chang


The son of an industrial chemist, Hans Fischer took both a Ph.D. in chemistry and an M.D. After various lectureships in internal medicine and medicinal chemistry, he in 1921 succeeded Wieland as head of the Institute of Organic Chemistry at the Technische Hochschule in Munich. There he carried out important researches on pyrroles and porphyrins, motivated mainly by structural studies on hemin, the pigment derived from blood hemoglobin. Fischer developed methods for assembling pyrroles to porphyrins, synthesized over 130 porphyrins, including hemin in 1929, and the bile pigment bilirubin in 1944, and also worked on chlorophyll. He received the 1930 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Depressed over the nearly complete destruction of his institute by bombing in 1945, he took his own life.