Heidelberg University Nobel Laureates
The Nobel Prize has been awarded since 1901 for achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace. It is regarded throughout the world as the highest distinction of accomplishment in these fields. 56 Nobel Laureates share a connection with Heidelberg University or the city of Heidelberg.
Nobel Laureates: Professors at Heidelberg University
2014 • Stefan W. Hell • Chemistry
born in 1962 in Arad, Romania
Professor at Heidelberg University: since 2003
In 2014 he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the development of ultra-high-resolution fluorescence microscopy. He has headed a division at the German Cancer Research Center (Heidelberg) since 2003. In the same year he accepted a position as adjunct professor at Heidelberg University, where he earned his doctorate in physics in 1990 and completed his habilitation in 1996. Since 2017 he is honorary professor at Heidelberg University.
2008 • Harald zur Hausen • Medicine
born in 1936 in Gelsenkirchen
Professor at Heidelberg University: since 1988
President of the German Cancer Research Centre (Heidelberg) from 1983 to 2003 and honorary professor on the Medical Faculty of the Universität Heidelberg since 1988. In 2008, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his investigations on the connections between human papillomavirus infections and cervical cancer.
1991 • Bert Sakmann • Medicine
born in 1942 in Stuttgart
Professor at Heidelberg University: since 1990
Pursued his research at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen from 1974 to 1989, from 1989 to 2008 at the MPI for Medical Research in Heidelberg, and, since 2008, at the MPI of Neurobiology in Martinsried. He shared the 1991 Nobel Prize in Medicine with Erwin Neher for their joint discovery of a new meth od of investigating the functions of individual cellular ion channels.
1979 • Georg Wittig • Chemistry
born in 1897 in Berlin, died in 1987 in Heidelberg
Professor at Heidelberg University: 1956 - 1967
Devised a method for the synthesis of complex organic compounds, later known as the “Wittig reaction” and used today in the industrial production of vitamin A. This method earned him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1979, together with the American scientist Herbert C. Brown.
1963 • Hans Jensen • Physics
born in 1907 in Hamburg, died in 1973 in Heidelberg
Professor at Heidelberg University: 1949 - 1973
Centrally involved in the establishment of the Institute of Theoretical Physics, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963, together with Maria Goeppert-Mayer, for the development of the shell model explaining the stability of atomic nuclei in the presence of certain numbers of nucleons.
1963 • Karl Ziegler • Chemistry
born in 1898 in Helsa, died in 1973 in Mülheim/Ruhr
Professor at Heidelberg University: 1928 - 1936
He began his research on radicals with trivalent carbon during his professorship at the Universität Heidelberg. In 1943, he was appointed Director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Coal Research at Mülheim/Ruhr (later Max Planck Institute). He shared the 1963 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Giulio Natta for their pioneering work in the synthesis of high polymers.
1954 • Walther Bothe • Physics
born in 1891 in Oranienburg, died in 1957 in Heidelberg
Professor at Heidelberg University: 1932 - 1953
Professor in Berlin and Gießen prior to his employ - ment in Heidelberg. In 1934, he was appointed Director of the Physics Department at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Medical Research (later Max Planck Institute). He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1954 for the development of the coincidence method and the discoveries made with it.
1938 • Richard Kuhn • Chemistry
born in 1900 in Vienna, died in 1967 in Heidelberg
Professor at Heidelberg University: 1929 - 1945, 1946 - 1967
Director of the Chemistry Department at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Medical Research (later Max Planck Institute) from 1929 to 1967. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was conferred on him in 1938 for his work on carotenoids and vitamins. Due to political conditions at the time, he was prevented from accepting the prize, although he was a declared supporter of National Socialism. In 1949, he received the award.
1922 • Otto Meyerhof • Medicine
born in 1884 in Hanover, died in 1951 in Philadelphia (USA)
Professor at Heidelberg University: 1929 - 1935, 1949 - 1951
Awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1922 for the discovery of important energy-generating cycles in biological reaction sequences. From 1929 to 1938, he was Director of the Physiology Department at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Medical Research (later Max Planck Institute). Prohibited from teaching in 1935 on racial grounds, he emigrated to the USA via Paris in 1938.
1910 • Albrecht Kossel • Medicine
born in 1853 in Rostock, died in 1927 in Heidelberg
Professor at Heidelberg University: 1901 - 1923
Professor of Physiology. One of the fi rst to apply organic chemistry methods to the investigation of biological systems, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1910 for his work on proteins, particularly nucleic acids.
1905 • Philipp Lenard • Physics
born in 1862 in Bratislava, died in 1947 in Messelhausen
Professor at Heidelberg University: 1896 - 1898, 1907 - 1931
Received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1905 for his pioneering work on the nature of cathode rays. His scientifi c renown was seriously compromised by the commitment he displayed in his later years to “German Physics”, a movement dedicated to the eradication of everything “Jewish” from physics, notably the Relativity Theory.
March 2015 • The compilation of Heidelberg’s Nobel Laureates is continuously revised.