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Tadeus Reichstein

REICHSTEIN, TADEUS (1897–1996), Swiss organic chemist, endocrinologist, and 1950 Nobel laureate. Reichstein was born in Wloclawek, Poland, and his family moved to Zurich in 1908. He became professor of organic chemistry at Zurich in 1934 and in 1938 joined Basle University as head of the Institute of Pharmacy. In 1933 he succeeded in the synthesis of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), the first total synthesis of a vitamin. He worked on other aspects of organic chemistry, and in 1934 began the isolation of the hormones of the adrenal cortex. He separated and characterized some 30 different steroids from adrenal glands, the most outstandingly important being corticosterone, cortisone, and cortisol, which are among the therapeutics used for sufferers from arthritis. In 1950 he, together with the Americans E.C. Kendall and P. Hench, was awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine "for their discoveries relating to the hormones of the adrenal cortex, their structure and biological effects." Reichstein used his Nobel prize money for other research work at the University of Basle.


T.N. Levitan, Laureates: Jewish Winners of the Nobel Prize (1960), 161–3; L.G. Stevenson; Nobel Prize Winners in Medicine and Physiology, 19011950 (1953), 272–83; Chimia, 11 (1957), 205; Chemiker Zeitung, 81 (1957), 506.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.