Scientific Highlights 1927-2003

Scientific Highlights 1927-2003

A selection

Otto Meyerhof, one of the founding directors (Department of Physiology, 1929-1938) received the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1922. His work on the chemical events in muscles founded the science of inter-mediate metabolism, its pathways and energetics.

Karl Lohmann, a member of Meyerhof’s staff, discovered the molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the universal energy intermediate in living organisms, in 1929.

Founding director  Richard Kuhn (Department of Chemistry, 1929-1967) achieved a number of major syntheses in organic chemistry, including the determination of the structures of carotinoids and the synthesis of vitamin B6 , for which he received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1938.

Walther Bothe (Department of Physics, 1933-1957) built, together with Wolfgang Gentner, the first German cyclotron and used isotopes produced in it for the first application of radioactivity in biochemistry. He received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1954 for his development of the coincidence method.

Rudolf Mößbauer worked between 1955 and 1957 in the department of Walther Bothe and wrote his doctoral thesis there. In it he described what was later known as the Mößbauer effect, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1961.

Wilhelm Hasselbach (Department of Physiology, 1967-1988) researched the role of calcium in the regulation of muscle contraction. With the discovery of the calcium pump he contributed crucially to knowledge of muscle and heart function.

Kenneth C. Holmes (Department of Biophysics, 1968/1973-2003) developed the use of the intense X-rays from a synchrotron (DESY, Hamburg) for diffraction studies of biological structures and thus made possible countless later breakthroughs in structural biology.


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