Willstätter, Richard

Willstätter, Richard

(rĭkh`ärt vĭl`shtĕtər), 1872–1942, German chemist. He was professor at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Chemistry, Berlin (1912–16), and at the Univ. of Munich (1916–25). He received the 1915 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on chlorophyll and on anthocyanins (red, blue, and violet plant pigments). His later work was on the assimilation of carbonic acids in plants and on the chemical composition of enzymes.

Willstatter, Richard


Born Aug. 13, 1872, in Karlsruhe; died Aug. 3, 1942, in Locarno, Switzerland. German chemist and biochemist.

Upon graduating from the University of Munich, Willstatter defended his doctoral dissertation in 1894. He was appointed a professor at the Higher Technical School in Zurich in 1905. From 1912 to 1915 he was at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin and from 1916 to 1925 was a professor of chemistry at the University of Munich. Willstatter left Germany in 1939 in protest against the persecution of the Jews. His research dealt with the chemical structure of alkaloids (tropine, atropine, and cocaine), blood pigments, and chlorophyll, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1915. Willstatter subsequently investigated aniline dyes and plant pigments (anthocyanins and flavones). He made an important contribution to the study of enzymes. He investigated the decomposition of cellulose and the process of catalytic hydrogenation and studied photosynthesis.


Untersuchungen über Chlorophyll. Berlin, 1913. (With A. Stoll.)
Untersuchungen über die Assimilation der Kohlensäure. Berlin, 1918. (With A. Stoll.)
Untersuchungen über Enzyme, vols. 1-2. Berlin, 1928.