Adolf Friedrich Johann Butenandt

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Butenandt, Adolf Friedrich Johann


Born Mar. 24, 1903, in Bremerhaven-Lehe. German biochemist (Federal Republic of Germany).

From 1931 to 1933, Butenandt was an assistant professor at the University of Göttingen and from 1933 to 1936, a professor at the Advanced Technical School in Danzig (now Gdansk). He then became the director of the institutes of biochemistry in Berlin (1936-44), Tübingen (1944-56), and Munich (since 1956). Since 1960 he has been president of the Max Planck Society.

Butenandt’s work has been devoted to the chemistry of sex hormones. He isolated androsterone and dehydroepian-drosterone from human urine (1931) and studied their chemical structure, carried out the synthesis of the sexual hormone testosterone, and in 1934 obtained the hormone of the corpus luteum—progesterone—in pure form. He received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1939 (jointly with the Swiss scientist L. Ruzicka). He received the Ehrlich Prize for his studies on the biochemistry of insects’ hormonal substances.


Untersuchungen über das weibliche Sexualhormon. Berlin, 1931.