1907 Buchner presentation

1907 Buchner presentation - Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1907...

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Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1907 Presentation Speech Presentation Speech by Professor the Count K.A.H. Mörner, President of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences , on December 10, 1907 * This year's Nobel Prize for Chemistry has been awarded to Professor Eduard Buchner for his work on fermentation. For a very long time both chemists and biologists have always regarded it as a particularly significant achievement when it has been possible to open up for chemical research a new field of the chemical processes which take place in living organisms. Through every step in this direction the puzzling aspect of the life processes diminishes, while on the other hand chemical laws are given a wider application. The farther the field of research in such a direction is extended the narrower becomes the territory at whose limit one must remain, since, as it used to be said, phenomena in such territory were governed by special laws not yet available to us and controlled by a particular kind of so-called "life force". For a long time far-seeing research workers in the field of chemistry have opposed the idea that chemical processes in the living being occupy such an exceptional position and have therefore given their full recognition to such works as in their view offered direct support to their views. In this connection we in Sweden feel bound to draw attention to the statements made by Berzelius. Apart from his creative activity in general chemistry, Berzelius was actively interested in the chemical processes in animal and plant organisms. With regard to these he held the view that they were more complicated and more difficult to learn than chemical reactions which take place independently of the living being. In no way, however, could he associate himself with the view generally held at that time that their nature was different and that they must follow quite different laws from the latter. Berzelius also had a predilection for taking part in work in this field of chemistry, when he could find time. He set great store by pertinent achievements of others. As an example of this, I recall Berzelius' reply to Wohler when the latter mentioned his discouragement at having missed the discovery of the element vanadium, a discovery he was close to, but did not succeed in making, because he did not complete the work he had started. Berzelius consoled him with friendly words. At the same time he pointed to Wohler's merit on the explanation of the formation of organic substances, which was then just commencing. Referring to a paper by Wohler and Liebig which had just appeared concerning cyanic acid and urea, Berzelius said that anyone who had produced such work could very well forgo discovering an element. One could, writes Berzelius, have
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This note was uploaded on 03/24/2009 for the course BIOLOGY 020.111 taught by Professor Brand during the Spring '09 term at Johns Hopkins.

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1907 Buchner presentation - Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1907...

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