The son of Theodor Wieland and Elise Blum, Heinrich Wieland won the 1927 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research in bile acids.
The son of a pharmaceutical chemist, Wieland spent his early years studying at the Universities of Munich, Berlin and Stuttgart. This was followed by time at the Baeyer laboratory where under the tutelage of Johannes Thiele, he earned his doctorate in 1901. He served as a professor at the technical University at Munich between 1913 and 1921. One of his most notable contributions to the field of education were the twenty seven years that he spent holding the Chair in the University of Munich, a post he took up in 1925. What makes Wieland stand apart from his colleagues is his holistic understanding of the field of Chemistry.
Initially Wieland spent a lot of time studying organic nitrogenous compounds. He made significant contributions while studying orefins and aromatics. He is also known for what are now considered to be classical experiments related to fulminic acid and its polymerization. Wieland played a key role in contributing to laying the foundation for organic radical chemistry .
Wieland played a key role in contributing to laying the foundation for organic radical chemistry .
Wieland’s later research was focussed on chemistry relating to natural substances. He made a number of contributions ranging from defining the structure of morphine, strychnine, which are synthetic alkaloid. He also discovered pterin compounds based on the pigments of butterflies. He also contributed to work on toad poisons and bile acids. Wieland did a significant amount of work in the field of oxidisation in living cells. He was also able to identify the dehydrogenation process in living cells.
Aplhpa-amnitin, which is a principal active agent of the world’s most poisonous mushrooms was isolated by Heinrich Wieland. The fact that Wieland’s research has featured in over four hundred publications is a testament to his wide range of contributions to the fields of organic chemistry and biochemistry. The Heinrich Wieland prize has been awarded since 1964, awarding work in the fields of chemistry, biochemistry, and clinical medicine that deals with lipids and their related substances.