Hugo Theorell (1969) - Enzyme Research Earlier and Today (German Presentation)

Hugo Theorell (1969)

Enzyme Research Earlier and Today (German Presentation)

Hugo Theorell (1969)

Enzyme Research Earlier and Today (German Presentation)

Comment

Hugo Theorell only gave two lectures at the Lindau Meetings. The first was in 1963 and its topic was how alcohol is burnt in the liver. The second and present lecture puts into a historical perspective the Nobel rewarded research which the young Theorell performed in Germany 1933-5 and which then continued at the Nobel Institute for Biochemistry in Stockholm. Theorell starts with the alcohol fermentation process, which has been used for thousands of years without a clear understanding of the mechanism. He then gives a review following the discoveries of, among others, the Nobel Laureates Buchner, Willstätter, von Euler, Warburg, Svedberg, Northrop and Stanley, Sumner, Martin and Synge, Sanger, Perutz and Kendrew, together with Merrifield and his last PhD student Hans Jörnvall, most of whom at one time or another visited the Lindau Meetings. In particular Theorell regrets that his colleague, the 1931 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, Otto Warburg, is not present at the meeting (Warburg passed away in 1970). This is not so strange, since it was at Warburg’s institute in Berlin-Dahlem that Theorell made his first important enzyme discovery. When he showed his results, the story goes that Warburg commented “If this is correct you will receive the Nobel Prize”. But the years went by and Theorell had to wait. When his Swedish colleague Arne Tiselius was given the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1948, it is said that Theorell developed an ulcer that appeared every autumn before the announcement of the new Nobel Laureates. But in 1955 he was richly rewarded for his ulcer pains by becoming the choice of both the Chemistry Nobel Committee and the Committee for Physiology or Medicine. After some initial confusion, it was decided that he should be given the prize in Physiology or Medicine. He thus became the first researcher at Karolinska Institutet to receive its Nobel Prize. And the ulcer problem magically disappeared!

Anders Bárány

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