Hermann Staudinger

About Hermann Staudinger

Who is it?: Chemist
Birth Day: March 23, 1881
Birth Place: Worms, Grand Duchy of Hesse, German Empire, German
Died On: 8 September 1965(1965-09-08) (aged 84)\nFreiburg, Germany
Birth Sign: Aries
Alma mater: University of Halle
Known for: Polymer chemistry
Spouse(s): Magda Staudinger (née Woit)
Awards: Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Fields: Organic and Polymer chemistry
Institutions: University of Strasbourg University of Karlsruhe ETH Zürich University of Freiburg
Doctoral advisor: Daniel Vorländer
Doctoral students: Werner Kern, Tadeusz Reichstein, Leopold Ružička, Rudolf Signer

Hermann Staudinger Net Worth

Hermann Staudinger was born on March 23, 1881 in Worms, Grand Duchy of Hesse, German Empire, German, is Chemist. Hermann Staudinger was a German chemist who was awarded the ‘Nobel Prize in Chemistry’ in 1953 for his modern concept of polymers, which he demonstrated as covalently bonded macromolecular or giant molecular structures. He as well as J. Fritschi suggested the concept in the early 1920s but met with initial resistance. The term ‘macromolecule’ (macro + molecule) was coined by him. He began to examine polymers while conducting his research on the synthesis of isoprene, monomer of natural rubber, for the German chemical company ‘BASF’. Staudinger as well as other researchers displayed that polymers are long-chain molecules that are created out of chemical interaction of small molecules and not by physical aggregation, as was perceived at that time. He demonstrated that synthesis of these chain like molecules could be attained by applying different procedures and that their identity could be retained even after being subjected to chemical alterations. This pioneering work of Staudinger not only led to the theoretical foundation of polymer chemistry but also paved way for development of modern plastics, thus greatly contributing to the development of the plastics industry. This research also contributed to the advancement of molecular biology that dealt with comprehending the structure of proteins as well as other macromolecules present in living things. He is also noted for his discovery of the organic compound called ketenes and the ‘Staudinger reduction’ or the ‘Staudinger reaction’.
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Staudinger was born in 1881 in Worms. After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Halle in 1903, Staudinger qualified as an academic lecturer at the University of Strasbourg in 1907.


In 1907, Staudinger began an assistant professorship at the Technical University of Karlsruhe. Here, he successfully isolated a number of useful organic compounds (including a synthetic coffee flavoring) as more completely reviewed by Rolf Mülhaupt.


In 1912, Staudinger took on a new position at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. One of his earliest discoveries came in 1919, when he and colleague Meyer reported that azides react with triphenylphosphine to form phosphazide (Figure 2). This reaction – commonly referred to as the Staudinger reaction – produces a high phosphazide yield.


While at Karlsruhe and later, Zurich, Staudinger began research in the chemistry of rubber, for which very high molecular weights had been measured by the physical methods of Raoult and van 't Hoff. Contrary to prevailing ideas (see below), Staudinger proposed in a landmark paper published in 1920 that rubber and other polymers such as starch, cellulose and proteins are long chains of short repeating molecular units linked by covalent bonds. In other words, polymers are like chains of paper clips, made up of small constituent parts linked from end to end (Figure 3).


In 1926 he was appointed lecturer of chemistry at the University of Freiburg at Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany), where he spent the rest of his career. In 1927, he married the Latvian Botanist, Magda Voita (also shown as (German: Magda Woit), who was a collaborator with him until his death and whose contributions he acknowledged in his Nobel Prize acceptance. Further evidence to support his polymer hypothesis emerged in the 1930s. High molecular weights of polymers were confirmed by membrane osmometry, and also by Staudinger’s measurements of viscosity in solution. The X-ray diffraction studies of polymers by Herman Mark provided direct evidence for long chains of repeating molecular units. And the synthetic work led by Carothers demonstrated that polymers such as nylon and polyester could be prepared by well-understood organic reactions. His theory opened up the subject to further development, and helped place polymer science on a sound basis.


Staudinger’s groundbreaking elucidation of the nature of the high-molecular weight compounds he termed Makromoleküle paved the way for the birth of the field of polymer chemistry. Staudinger himself saw the potential for this science long before it was fully realized. “It is not improbable,” Staudinger smartly commented in 1936, “that sooner or later a way will be discovered to prepare artificial fibers from synthetic high-molecular products, because the strength and elasticity of natural fibers depend exclusively on their macro-molecular structure – i.e., on their long thread-shaped molecules.” Staudinger founded the first polymer chemistry journal in 1940, and in 1953 received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for “his discoveries in the field of macromolecular chemistry.” In 1999, the American Chemical Society and Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker designated Staudinger's work as an International Historic Chemical Landmark. His pioneering research has afforded the world myriad plastics, textiles, and other polymeric materials which make consumer products more affordable, attractive and fun, while helping Engineers develop lighter and more durable structures.