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Emil Fischer

Emil FischerAKA Hermann Emil Fischer

Born: 9-Oct-1852
Birthplace: Euskirchen, Prussia, Germany
Died: 15-Jul-1919
Location of death: Berlin, Germany
Cause of death: Suicide
Remains: Buried, Kleist-Grabstätte by the Kleiner Wannsee, Berlin

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

Nationality: Germany
Executive summary: Peptide bond

Organic chemist Emil Fischer studied under Adolf von Baeyer, spent most of his career studying the chemistry of purines and sugars, and won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1902 — the same year he identified the peptide bond that holds together amino acid chains. He discovered phenylhydrazine (perhaps accidentally) in 1874, explored the organic derivatives of hydrazine (a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen, heavily used in dyes), and his work provided the first detailed understanding of caffeine and theobromine, principle ingredients in cocoa, coffee, and tea. In 1888 he showed the chemical relation between glucose, fructose and mannose, and in 1903 he synthesized barbituric acid (the first barbiturate), allowing the development of affordable sedatives for insomnia and anxiety. In 1919, suffering from cancer and deeply depressed over the deaths of two of his three sons in World War I, he took his own life.

Father: Laurenz Fischer (businessman)
Mother: Julie Fischer
Wife: Agnes Gerlach (dau. of Professor J. von Gerlach, m. 1888, d. 1895, three sons)
Son: Hermann Otto Laurenz Fischer (biochemist at UC Berkeley, b. 1888, d. 1960)
Son: (d. World War I)
Son: (d. suicide age 25, during World War I)

    University: University of Bonn (attended 1870-72)
    University: PhD Chemistry, University of Strasbourg (1874)
    Scholar: Chemistry, University of Strassburg (1871-74)
    Teacher: Chemistry, University of Munich (1874-81)
    Professor: Chemistry, University of Munich (1875-81)
    Professor: Chemistry, University of Erlangen (1881-88)
    Professor: Chemistry, University of Würzburg (1888-92)
    Professor: Chemistry, University of Berlin (1892-1919)

    Davy Medal 1890
    Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1902
    Bavarian-Maximilian Order for Arts and Sciences 1913
    Prussian Order of Merit
    German Chemical Society
    Bavarian Ancestry
    German Ancestry
    Lunar Crater Fischer (8.0° N, 142.4° E, 30 km. diameter; named jointly for Emil Fischer, Hans Fischer)
    Risk Factors: Cancer, Depression

Author of books:
Aus meinem Leben (1922, memoir)

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