Nobel Prize Winners in Chemistry, 1901-1950

Nobel Prize Winners in Chemistry, 1901-1950

Nobel Prize Winners in Chemistry, 1901-1950

Nobel Prize Winners in Chemistry, 1901-1950

Excerpt

THE BEGINNING of the twentieth century was also the beginning of the functioning of the Nobel Foundation, created to carry out Dr. Alfred Nobel's will. Since then to the end of 1950, fifty-three chemists have received Nobel prizes in chemistry. Every year, except 1916, 17, 24, 33, 40, 41, and 42, candidates for the prize were selected and proposed by an international group of the most outstanding men in chemistry. This group comprised about 300 at the start, about 450 now. From the list of candidates which increased from ten in the early years to 70 recently, the Nobel Committee of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science selects the winners. The prize amounted to $41,800 in 1901, declining to $31,700 in 1950. While the monetary value of the prize has decreased, its importance and prestige have grown during the years. The appreciation and encouragement given to the men who made what their colleagues considered the greatest contribution to the advance of chemistry stimulates the progress of science and humanity and thus fulfills Dr. Nobel's original intention.

Every award year, a wide public in all countries is electrified by the news of the Nobel Prize, and particular attention is drawn to the great personalities in literature, politics, and science. Their work, however, is less widely understood. The prize winners and their achievements fade more rapidly from public remembrance than the winners in baseball and boxing. A few years ago, Mr. Henry Schuman decided to remedy this situation. He drew up a plan to describe the Nobel Prizes in medicine and physiology, in physics, and in chemistry, for each award year in three parts. A short biography was to be followed by a quotation from the prize-winner's description of his work, and an explanation of the importance of this work was to be added. In discussions with Mr. Schuman this plan took definite form. The present book is the result.

In the biographical sketches I have endeavoured to give more . . .

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