Fischer, Emil

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Fischer, Emil Gender: M
Hermann Emil Louis Fischer
born on 9 October 1852 at 12:00 (= 12:00 noon )
Place Euskirchen, Germany, 50n39, 6e47
Timezone LMT m6e47 (is local mean time)
Data source
Quoted BC/BR
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Gauquelin
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_libcol.18.gif 16°19' s_mo.18.gif s_leocol.18.gif 23°35 Asc.s_sagcol.18.gif 18°12'

Emil Fischer


German chemist, perhaps the most outstanding chemist of all times. In 1902 he won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his synthetic work in sugar and purine groups of substances. He was an author of text works. His administrative work, especially when he went to Berlin, revealed him as a tenacious campaigner for the establishment of scientific foundations, not only in chemistry, but in other fields of work as well. His keen understanding of scientific problems, his intuition and love of truth and his insistence on experimental proof of hypotheses, marked him as one of the truly great scientists of all time.

The son of a successful business man, Emil was given three years with a private tutor. After attending the local school, he spent two years at school at Wetzlar, and two more at Bonn where he passed his final examination in 1869 with great distinction. His father wished him to enter the family lumber business, but Emil wished to study the natural sciences, especially physics. After an unsuccessful trial of Emil in the family business, his father - who, according to the laureate's autobiography, said that Emil was too stupid to be a business man and had better be a student - sent him in 1871 to the University of Bonn to study chemistry.

In 1872, however, Emil, who still wished to study physics, was persuaded by his cousin to go with him to the newly established University of Strasbourg, where Professor Rose was working on the Bunsen method of analysis. Here Fischer met Adolf von Baeyer, under whose influence he finally decided to devote his life to chemistry. In 1874 he took his PhD at Strasbourg with a thesis on fluorescence and orcin-phthalein. In the same year he was appointed assistant instructor at Strasbourg University and here he began the first of his many remarkable discoveries. The discovery of phenyl hydrazine, reputed to have been accidental, was related to much of Fischer's later work.

In 1875 Fischer went to the University of Munich as an assistant in organic chemistry. In 1879, he was appointed Associate Professor of Analytical Chemistry. In 1881 he was appointed Professor of Chemistry at the University of Erlangen and in 1883 he was asked by the Badische Anilin- und Soda-Fabrik to direct its scientific laboratory.

Fischer, however, whose father had now made him financially independent, preferred academic work. In 1888 he was asked to become Professor of Chemistry at the University of Würzburg and here he remained until 1892, when he was asked to succeed A. W. Hofmann in the Chair of Chemistry at the University of Berlin. Here he remained until his death in 1919.

The work, however, on which Fischer's fame chiefly rests, was his studies of the purines and the sugars. This work, carried out between 1882 and 1906, showed that various substances, little known at that time, such as adenine, xanthenes, in vegetable substances, caffeine and, in animal excrete, uric acid and guanine, all belonged to one homogeneous family and could be derived from one another and that they corresponded to different hydroxyl and amino derivatives of the same fundamental system formed by a bicyclical nitrogenous structure into which the characteristic urea group entered. This parent substance, which at first he regarded as being hypothetical, he called purine in 1884, and he synthesized it in 1898. Numerous artificial derivatives, more or less analogous to the naturally-occurring substances, came from his laboratory between 1882 and 1896.

This monumental work on the sugars, carried out between 1884 and 1894, was extended by other work, the most important being his studies of the glucosides. Between 1899 and 1908 Fischer made his great contributions to knowledge of the proteins. In addition to his great work in the fields already mentioned, Fischer also studied the enzymes and the chemical substances in the lichens which he found during his frequent holidays in the Black Forest, and also substances used in tanning and, during the final years of his life, the fats. Fischer held honorary doctorates to many universities and had many awards and prizes acknowledging his immense contribution. In 1902 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on sugar and purine syntheses.

In 1888 Fischer married Agnes von Gerlach (ca 1861 - 12 November 1895), daughter of the Professor of Anatomy at Erlangen. Unhappily his wife died seven years after their marriage. They had three sons, one of whom was killed in the First World War; another took his own life at the age of 25 as a result of compulsory military training. The third son, Hermann Otto Laurenz Fischer, who died in 1960, was Professor of Biochemistry in the University of California at Berkeley.

Fischer had an excellent memory which enabled him, although he was not a naturally good speaker, to memorize manuscripts of lectures that he had written. He enjoyed walks among the hills and he also made frequent visits to the Black Forest. At the age of 18, before he went to the University of Bonn, Fischer suffered from gastritis, which attacked him again later in his life, so severely that he took a year’s leave of absence if 1887.

During his last years he was depressed. Fischer lost his two younger sons during WWI – one was killed in combat and the other killed himself as he could not bear the military training. Ironically, Fisher helped to develop methods for making potassium nitrate, nitric acid, camphor and sulphur, all of which were needed to make explosives, despite being a pacifist. Towards the end of WWI in 1917 he wrote to a friend, “Modern warfare in every respect is so horrifying, that scientific people will only regret that it draws its means from the progress of the sciences. I hope that the present war will teach the peoples of Europe a lasting lesson and bring the friends of peace to power. Otherwise the present ruling class will really deserve to be swept away by socialism”.

Fischer ended his life on 7/15/1919, Berlin, Germany, having terminal cancer. His cancer has been related to handling the carcinogen phenylhydrazine for a long time.

His eldest son, Hermann Otto Laurenz Fischer, survived WWI, obtained his PhD from Berlin University and pursued an academic career in biochemistry. With his Jewish wife he moved to England and in 1948 to the USA.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • associate relationship with Van 't Hoff, Jacobus Henricus (born 30 August 1852). Notes: “Fischer projection” method using Jacobus Henricus van’t Hoff’s theory of the tetrahedral carbon atom
  • other associate with Bijvoet, Johannes Martin (born 23 January 1892). Notes: proved his notions on stereochemistry in 1950
  • (has as) student relationship with Diels, Otto (born 23 January 1876)
  • (has as) student relationship with Fischer, Hans (born 27 July 1881). Notes: studied in Berlin under Emil Fischer
  • (has as) student relationship with Stock, Alfred (born 16 July 1876)


  • Death of Child 1860 (Hermann died)
  • Social : End a program of study 1869 (Graduated from Bonn)
  • Social : Begin a program of study 1871 (Entered Univ. of Bonn)
  • Social : Begin a program of study 1872 (Entered University of Strasbourg)
  • Social : End a program of study 1874 (Received his PhD from Strasbourg)
  • Work : New Job 1875 (Prof at University of Munich)
  • Work : Gain social status 1879 (Assoc. pro of analytical chemistry)
  • Work : New Job 1881 (Univ. of Erlangen)
  • Work : Begin Major Project 1882 (Study of homogeneous chemicals, 24 years)
  • Work : New Job 1883 (Head of scientific laboratory)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1884 (Invention of purine)
  • Health : Acute illness 1887 (Acute attack of gastritis, one year)
  • Work : New Job 1888 (Prof of Chemistry)
  • Relationship : Marriage 1888 (Agnes von Gerlach)
  • Work : Gain social status 1892 (Chair of Chemistry, Univ. of Berlin)
  • Work : Begin Major Project 1899 (Study of proteins, nine years)
  • Death by Suicide 15 July 1919 (Euthanasia/suicide at age 66, depressed and having terminal cancer.)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

Gauquelin Vol 2/1757

Hermann Emil Fischer: Life and Achievements by G Nagendrappa


  • Traits : Mind : Education extensive (Science and physics)
  • Traits : Mind : Exceptional mind (Outstanding)
  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Cancer (handling carcinogens)
  • Diagnoses : Psychological : Depression (Lost two sons in WW1)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (One, seven years)
  • Family : Relationship : Widowed (Wife died)
  • Family : Parenting : Kids 1-3 (Three sons)
  • Family : Parenting : Kids -Traumatic event (All three sons died)
  • Personal : Death : Suicide
  • Vocation : Science : Chemistry (Noted)
  • Notable : Extraordinary Talents : For Abstract thought
  • Notable : Awards : Nobel prize (Chemistry)
  • Notable : Famous : Founder/ originator (Numerous scientific discoveries)
  • Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession (Outstanding chemist)