He studies chemistry at the Czech Institute of Technology in Prague.
After the German occupation of Zagreb in 1941, Prelog receives invitations to give lectures in Germany. So he is able to escape to Switzerland with his wife and starts working in the Organic Chemistry Laboratory at the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. He develops x-ray analysis techniques to reveal the structures of molecules. Hee retires in 1976.
Vladimir Prelog is born in Sarajevo in 1906, which was then in Austria-Hungary. As an almost eight-year old boy, he stands near to the spot where Archiduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife are assassinated, the event which sparks the first World War.
Vladimir Prelog dies in Zurich.
Prelog marries Kamila Vitek in 1933. They have one son.
The end of his study coincides with the Great Depression, so he first cannot find an academic position. Instead, he joins the newly created laboratory of G.J. Dríza in Prague where he is in charge of the production of rare chemicals. He also spends some time with his own research, investigating alkaloids from the cacao bark. Prelog’s interest in natural compounds, especially alkaloids which often have medical properties, continues throughout his career.
He finally gets the position of a lecturer at the University of Zagreb in 1935. Even though he fulfills all the duties of a full professor, he has to live on a salary of an underpaid assistant. Among other things, he researches quinine, a natural alkaloid with fever-reducing, antimalarial and anti-inflammatory properties. The organic chemistry developed in Zagreb at that time is well known around the world.
Vladimir Prelog shares the 1975 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with John Cornforth “for his research into the stereochemistry of organic molecules and reactions”. He has analyzed the stereochemical structures of many complex natural compounds. This is important because many complex molecules exist in two mirror images (“stereoisomers”) which can have very different chemical and medical properties.
At the beginning of the war, the family moves to Zagreb, where Prelog attends secondary school.