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Born Mar. 23, 1881, in Worms; died Sept. 8, 1965, in Freiburg. German chemist (Federal Republic of Germany).
Staudinger studied at the Technische Hochschule in Darmstadt and at the universities of Halle and Munich. He was a professor at the Technische Hochschule in Karlsruhe from 1908 to 1912, at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich from 1912 to 1926, and at the University of Freiburg from 1926 to 1951. From 1940 to 1956 he was the director of the State Institute for Macro-molecular Compounds.
Staudinger’s principal works deal with the chemistry of macro-molecular compounds. In 1905 he discovered ketenes, a class of organic compounds. In 1919 he proposed a method of substituting an imino group for the oxygen atom of a carbonyl group by using triphenylphosphine ¡mines; the process is known as the Staudinger reaction. In 1922 he proved that polymers are compounds consisting of large molecules, the atoms of which are joined by covalent bonds. To describe such molecules he introduced the concept of the macromolecule. Staudinger also advanced the theory of the chain structure of macromolecules, to which he subsequently added the concepts of the branched macromolecule and the three-dimensional polymer network. He demonstrated the relationship between the molecular weight of a polymer and the viscosity of its solutions, thus laying the foundations for the development of the viscometric method for determining molecular weight. He also proposed polymer-analogue transformation reactions. In 1947, Staudinger founded the journal Die makromolekulare Chemie.
Staudinger received a Nobel Prize in 1953.