The period of Nazism is one of the darkest times in human history. The crimes perpetuated under the orders of Adolf Hitler marked a before and after; However, a lesser-known chapter of the Third Reich is the one dealing with the three German scientists who were prohibited them from receiving the Nobel Prize.
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In 1937, the Führer issued a decree that prohibited any German citizen from accepting the Nobel Prize in any of its disciplines. This occurred after the Royal Swedish Academy awarded the Peace Prize to Carl von Ossietzky, an open opponent of the Nazi regime.
Who were the Germans who did not receive the Nobel?
Richard Kuhn was a chemist born in Vienna, who dedicated himself to the investigation of carotenes (vitamin A) and their importance for the growth of organisms.
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After identifying two types of carotene, in 1933 Kuhn managed to establish the existence of a third type, for which he was recognized with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1938. However, he could not receive the award until 1949.
Kunh also participated in the team of scientists that managed to isolate and synthesize riboflavin, or vitamin B2, and his development of chromatographic techniques was important in the isolation and production of pure substances.
Adolf Butenandt, considered one of the fathers of molecular biology, was the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry a year after his compatriot, due to his research on sex hormones.
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The chemist was able to isolate estrogen for the first time and was able to determine its structure and composition. Similarly, he purely synthesized androsterone, a male sex hormone, and later discovered progesterone and testosterone.
These advances cemented the creation of the contraceptive pill, which was developed in 1956 by Americans Gregory Pincus and John Rock.
The same year that Butenandt was to receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Gerhard Domagk was selected in the branch of Medicine for his experiments on mice, which led to the discovery of the applications of sulfonamides against bacterial infections in 1932.
The scientist’s finding became the precedent for a new family of drugs: antibiotics. After receiving notification from the Swedish Academy he was imprisoned by the SS and forced to decline the award.
Once the Nazi regime was defeated, Domagk introduced thiosemicarbazone as the first treatment for tuberculosis; in the same way, it contributed to the development of chemotherapy against cancer.
After the culmination of World War II, both Butenandt and Domagk were able to receive the Nobel medal and diploma, in 1949 and 1944 respectively, but they could not receive the economic prize, since they only have one year to claim it.
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The day Hitler banned three scientists from receiving the Nobel