|About the Book|
Hermann Emil Louis Fischer (9 October 1852 – 15 July 1919) was a German chemist and 1902 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He also discovered the Fischer esterification. He developed the Fischer projection, a symbolic way of drawing asymmetric carbon atoms.Fischer was born in Euskirchen, near Cologne, the son of a businessman. After graduating he wished to study natural sciences, but his father compelled him to work in the family business until determining that his son was unsuitable. Fischer then attended the University of Bonn in 1871, but switched to the University of Strasbourg in 1872. He earned his doctorate in 1874 under Adolf von Baeyer with his study of phthalein and was appointed to a position at the university.In 1875 von Baeyer was asked to succeed Justus von Liebig at the University of Munich and Fischer went there with him to become an assistant in organic chemistry.In 1878 Fischer qualified as a Privatdozent at Munich, where he was appointed Associate Professor of Analytical Chemistry in 1879. In the same year he was offered, but refused, the Chair of Chemistry at Aachen.In 1881 he was appointed Professor of Chemistry at the University of Erlangen and in 1883 he was asked by the Badische Anilin- und Soda-Fabrik to direct its scientific laboratory. Fischer, however, whose father had now made him financially independent, preferred academic work.In 1885 he was asked to become Professor of Chemistry at the University of Würzburg and here he remained until 1892, when he was asked to succeed A. W. Hofmann in the Chair of Chemistry at the University of Berlin. Here he remained until his death in 1919 from chronic phenylhydrazine poisoning.At the age of 18, before he went to the University of Bonn, Fischer suffered from gastritis, which attacked him again towards the end of his tenure of the Chair at Erlangen and caused him to refuse a tempting offer to follow Victor Meyer at the Federal Technical University at Zurich and to take a years leave of absence before he went, in 1888, to Würzburg. Throughout his life he was well served by his excellent memory, which enabled him, although he was not a naturally good speaker, to memorize manuscripts of lectures that he had written.He was particularly happy at Würzburg where he enjoyed walks among the hills and he also made frequent visits to the Black Forest. His administrative work, especially when he went to Berlin, revealed him as a tenacious campaigner for the establishment of scientific foundations, not only in chemistry, but in other fields of work as well. His keen understanding of scientific problems, his intuition and love of truth and his insistence on experimental proof of hypotheses, marked him as one of the truly great scientists of all time.Fischer was made a Prussian Geheimrat (Excellenz), and held honorary doctorates of the Universities of Christiania, Cambridge (England), Manchester and Brussels. In 1897 he put forward the idea to create the International Atomic Weights Commission. He was also awarded the Prussian Order of Merit and the Maximilian Order for Arts and Sciences. In 1902 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on sugar and purine synthesis.Many names of chemical reactions and concepts are named after him:Fischer indole synthesisFischer projectionFischer oxazole synthesisFischer peptide synthesisFischer phenylhydrazine and oxazone reactionFischer reductionFischer-Speier esterificationFischer glycosidationWhen Fischer died in 1919, the Emil Fischer Memorial Medal was instituted by the German Chemical Society.Note that the Fischer-Tropsch process is named after Franz Emil Fischer a chemist who was no relation, head of the Institut fuer Kohlenforschung in Muelheim.