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Paul Karrer

Paul KarrerBorn: 21-Apr-1889
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: 18-Jun-1971
Location of death: Zürich, Switzerland
Cause of death: Illness

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Chemist

Nationality: Switzerland
Executive summary: Synthesized vitamins A, B2, E, and K

Swiss chemist Paul Karrer studied under Alfred Werner, and won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1937 for his work showing the constitution of carotenoids (yellow plant pigments), flavins, and vitamins A (retinol) and B2 (riboflavin). He synthesized vitamin A in 1931, vitamin B2 in 1935, vitamin E (tocopherol) in 1938, and vitamin K (phytonadione) in 1939. Though born in Moscow Karrer was Swiss, as were both his parents. He never drove or owned a car, and never seriously considered any of the numerous offers to leave the University of Zürich, where he earned his PhD and worked for almost all his career.

Not to be confused with the Greek composer Paul Karrer (1829-96).

Father: Paul Karrer (dentist)
Mother: Julie Lerch Karrer
Wife: Helena Froelich Karrer (m. 1914, d. 1971, three sons)
Son: Ehrlich Karrer (d. infany)
Son: Heinz Karrer
Son: Jurg Karrer

    High School: Lenzburg Canton School, Lenzburg, Aarau (1908)
    University: PhD, University of Zürich (1911)
    Scholar: Chemical Institute, University of Zürich (1911-12)
    Scholar: Royal Prussian Institute for Experimental Therapy, Frankfurt (1912-18)
    Lecturer: Chemistry, University of Zürich (1918-19)
    Professor: Chemistry, University of Zürich (1919-59)
    Administrator: Rector, University of Zürich (1950-53)

    Marcel Benoist Prize 1923
    Cannizzaro Prize of the Accademia dei Lincei 1935
    Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1937 (with Norman Haworth)
    French Legion of Honor 1954 (Commander)
    British Chemical Society Foreign Member
    French Academy of Sciences Foreign Member
    French Chemical Society Foreign Member
    German Chemical Society Foreign Member
    Indian Academy of Sciences Foreign Fellow
    National Academy of Sciences Foreign Member
    Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences
    Royal Society Foreign Member
    Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
    Swiss Ancestry
    Lunar Crater Karrer (52.1° S 141.8° W, 51 km. diameter)

Author of books:
Lehrbuch der organischen Chemie (Textbook of Organic Chemistry) (1928)
Carotenoids (1950, chemistry)

Wrote plays:
Drehen und Spalten (Rotating and Resolving) (1911)


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