The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
In this interview Tadeus Reichstein discusses his long and distinguished career as an organic chemist. He begins by recalling his family and early education in Germany and Switzerland. The interview continues with Reichstein describing his advanced work at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) and recalling his professors and colleagues, especially Staudinger and Ruzicka. In 1938, Reichstein moved to the Pharmaceutical Institute at Basel, and the central portion of the interview focuses on his research leading to the Nobel Prize in 1950. This includes work in Vitamin C synthesis, cortisone and other adrenal hormones, and glycosides. The interview concludes with Reichstein expressing his personal philosophy, his views on the changes in chemistry, and his interest in botany.
|1920||Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Eidgenössiche Technische Hochschule)||Diploma||Chemical Engineering|
|1922||Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Eidgenössiche Technische Hochschule)||DIng||Chemistry|
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Eidgenössiche Technische Hochschule)
University of Basel
Table of Contents
Family moves to Zürich. Early school in Germany. Father's business. Early exposure to chemistry. Language education. Becomes a Swiss citizen.
ETH curriculum. Physicists. Physics Department and Chemistry Department. H. Staudinger's polymer research. Doctoral work with Staudinger. Research on coffee flavor. R. Kuhn. P. Karrer. L. Ruzicka.
Offered position by Ruzicka. Teaches biochemistry. Begins Vitamin C research. Interactions of Karrer with Ruzicka and Kuhn. Decides to do research in medicinal chemistry. Begins work on adrenal hormones.
Accepts offer to head Institute. Relations between University and city of Basel. Organizes and obtains support for new Chemical Institute. Heads Institute.
Describes early history of Vitamin C. R. Oppenauer begins synthesis of L-ascorbic acid. Reactions of Karrer and Haworth. Synthesizes sorbose using Drosophilia. Patent royalties finance laboratory work.
Competition with E. C. Kendall. Adrenal gland extracts. Tests with adrenalectomized animals. Crystallization of aldosterone. B.A. Simpson and J. F. Tait. Correspondence with Wintersteiner. Tests of new "miracle drug" on humans by Kendall and P. Hench. Wins Nobel Prize. Regulatory effects of adrenal gland hormones.
Cardiac activity of glycosides. Works with Strophantus. Correlation of chemical structure with botanical classification. Toad venoms.
Contacts with American scientists and scientific organizations. Changes language of publications to English. Comments on longevity. New methods of structure determination. Thoughts on animal experiments. Disposition of personal papers.
About the Interviewer
Tonja A. Koeppel received a master’s degree in chemistry from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in 1944. Since then she has written about chemistry, done research, and taught college chemistry. Dr. Koeppel is also a historian of chemistry. In 1973 she earned a PhD degree in the history and sociology of science from the University of Pennsylvania. She is especially interested in the development of organic chemistry in the 19th and early 20th centuries.