Hans von Euler-Chelpin jointly won the 1929 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for research in the fermenting of sugar and fermentative enzymes.
Euler-Chelpin was a German born Swede. Born in February 1873, he was the son of a captain in the Royal Bavarian Regiment. A lot of Euler-Chelpin’s early years were spent with his grandmother. He studied in several schools in Munich, Wurzburg and Ulm. After this he studied art for three years at the Munich Academy of Painting. In fact it was his interest in colour and the colour spectrum that lead him to study science.
Euler studied at the University of Berlin under Emil Fischer and A. Rosenheim. He even studied physics under E. Warburg and Max Planck. He graduated with a doctorate from the University of Berlin. This was followed by a course in physical chemistry after completing which; he joined University of Göttingen in 1896. Here he worked under W. Nernst. The following year Euler-Chelpin moved to Stockholm to work as an assistant in the laboratory of Svante Arrhenius. Between 1899 and 1900, Euler-Chelpin spent time at van’t Hoff’s laboratory.
Euler-Chelpin’s interest in Bio Chemistry began when he visited the laboratories of A. Hantzsch and J. Thiele. Piqued with this field he started to work on it part time with his wife. He paid visits to various laboratories researching the field including E. Buchner in Berlin and G. Bertrand at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. His interest and research in the field lead him to be appointed as Professor of General and Organic Chemistry in the Royal University, Stockholm in 1906.
Euler-Chelpin’s first foray in the field of Biochemistry began in 1904. The work dealt with enzymes and was related to an earlier work on catalysis. He studied in detail the first phases of fermentation and its catalysis. In 1914 Euler-Chelpin published a book on the chemistry of yeast and alcoholic fermentation. It was for this contribution to understanding fermentation that Euler-Chelpin was awarded jointly with Arthur Harden, the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1929.