October 17, 1966


JAMA. 1966;198(3):313-314. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110160141048

A mong the brilliant investigators in the universities and industrial research laboratories in Germany late in the 19th century, no scientist is worthy of greater accolade than Emil Fischer.1 He was born in Euskirchen near Cologne into a well-to-do family of commerce. Emil joined his father's company after completing the Gymnasium in Bonn, but dislike for the business world was apparent and he turned to the natural sciences. He was first attracted to the study of physics at the University of Bonn, becoming enraptured with the lectures of Kekulé. Fischer's travel year was spent at the newly founded German University at Strassburg; here he was influenced especially by Adolph von Baeyer, chemist and discerning critic of chemical research, who turned him to organic chemistry and his destiny in science. The inaugural dissertation for the PhD at Strassburg concerned fluorescein and orcinphthalein, organic dyes. Within a year Fischer had discovered