Hermann Emil Fischer

German chemist (1852-1919)

Hermann Emil Fischer (9 October 1852 – 15 July 1919) was a German chemist who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1902.[1]

Hermann Emil Fischer
Born9 October 1852
Euskirchen, Rhine Province
Died15 July 1919, aged 66
Known forNobel Prize in Chemistry in 1902

Fischer was the founder of the chemistry of primary natural products: carbohydrates, purines and nucleosides, peptides and proteins. Amongst his many discoveries were the structure of carbohydrates, and he was the first to get synthetic peptides. He studied the active principles of tea, coffee and cocoa, namely, caffeine and theobromine.

Fischer also proposed the lock & key model of enzyme action.



Fischer was married to Agnes Gerlach in Feb. 1888, but she died seven years after their marriage. They had three sons, named Hermann Otto Laurenz Fischer (16. Dec. 1888 - 09. Mar. 1960) Walter (05. Jul. 1891 – 04. Nov. 1916) and Alfred (3. Oct. 1894 – 29. Mar. 1917). Alfred was killed in World War I, Walter committed suicide at the age of 25 as a result of compulsory military training.

His eldest son Hermann Otto Laurenz Fischer, was Professor of Biochemistry in the University of California, Berkeley from 1948 until his death in 1960.[2]

At the end, suffering from terminal cancer, he is thought to have committed suicide in 1919.[3][4][5]

Emil Fischer is burried at Friedhof Wannsee, Lindenstraße and since 1956 named as grave of honor for extraordinary services or achievements in his lifetimes.


  1. Fischer, Emil 1902. Syntheses in the purine and sugar group
  2. Baker, A. Albert 1970–80. Fischer, Hermann Otto Laurenz. Dictionary of Scientific Biography 5. New York: Scribner's, pp. 5–7. ISBN 978-0-684-10114-9
  3. Sachi, Sri Kantha (2000). "Suicide: a Socratic revenge". Ceylon Medical Journal (45): 25–28. Archived from the original on 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2015-07-15.
  4. "Emil Fischer". The Notable Names Database. 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-18.
  5. Eduard, Farber (1970–80). Fischer, Emil Hermann. Dictionary of Scientific Biography 5. New York: Scribner's, pp. 1–5. ISBN 978-0-684-10114-9