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Presentation on theme: "LEOPOLD RUZICKA CROATIAN CHEMIST & NOBEL LAUREATE."— Presentation transcript:


2 LEOPOLD RUZICKA Born as Lavoslav Stjepan Ruzicka on September 13, 1887 in Vukovar, Croatia A small Croatian town that was part of Austria-Hungary at the time. His great-grandparents included a Czech citizen Where his last name comes from Two great-grandparents included an Upper Austrian and his wife Others were from Croatia All of his ancestors were artisans or farmers Had only a few years of schooling His father was Croatian His mother was German

3 RUZICKA’S PARENTS His father was a cooper A person who makes or repairs casks and barrels Lived with his father for his early childhood. His father’s home is now a national landmark in Croatia. Leopold Ruzicka’s childhood homechildhood home Moving back with his mother Moved back with his mother after the early death of his father in 1891 in Osijek. It was here that he attended primary school where only the Croatian language was used. He was regarded as a bright pupil but was only interested in physics and mathematics. He never studied Chemistry but decided to pursue this at the university level out of his interest in understanding the composition of natural products. Ruzicka’s father house in Croatia

4 SCHOOLING After attending secondary school in Osijek, Croatia, Ruzicka went on to study at Technische Hoschschule at Darlsruhe, Germany in 1906Technische Hoschschule Wanted to study at Zurich Polytechnic InstituteZurich Polytechnic Institute Decided not to because he didn’t want to take an entrance exam He never studied chemistry before this time. He went on to work with ketenes with Hermann Staudinger for his doctoral work.

5 POST COLLEGE CAREER After two years of research Ruzicka was a “Dipl. Ing” and was “Dr. Ing” after just two weeks. Staudinger then appointed Ruzicka as his assistant and they started work on the unexplored field of active constituents of Dalmatian insect powder. They later named them pyrethrins In October 1912, Staudinger became Richard Willstätter’s successor at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, or the Federal Institute of Technology for the Swiss. Ruzicka followed Staudinger to Switzerland and enjoyed the peaceful environment so much that he aquired Swiss citizenship in 1917.

6 INDEPENDENT RESEARCH In 1916, Ruzicka began his own independent research. He was able to work on his research almost for the full day with only one hour of teaching weekly from 1918 onward. Starting in 1916, Ruzicka began working with perfume companies. Specifically Haarman & Reimer the oldest perfume manufactures in the world in Germany. The collaboration between the two resulted in the total synthesis of fenchone. The extension and interpretation of the Wagner rearrangement Which was introduced by Ruzicka

7 INDEPENDENT RESEARCH The firm Ciba in Basle became interested in Ruzicka’s work on the preparation of quinine-like compounds. With the help of several co-workers, Ruzicka was able to synthesize b-collidine and linalool. Also the partial synthesis of pinene A series of investigations in the monoterpene field were carried out

8 INDEPENDENT RESEARCH In 1921, Geneva perfume manufacturers Chuit, Naef & Firmenich ask for Ruzicka’s collaboration. As a result of this, Ruzicka found… The constitutional formulas of the higher terpenes Which had already started. The total syntheses of nerolidol and farnesol. Determined the structure of jasmone Worked on the isoprene rule, Most importantly, deduced the structures of naturally occuring musk perfumes, civetone and muscone. From these strucutures, Ruzicka and his co-workers were able to prepare a series of alicyclic ketones with 9 to 30 carbon member rings, which were thought to be impossible to exist in nature. Here is a video describing how terpenes can form steroids, which Ruzicka helped discover.Here


10 LATER IN LIFE After all of these discoveries, Ruzicka took 1925-1926 off to be with friends in Geneva. He then became an organic chemistry professor at the University of Utrecht. He left Holland to return to the ETH in Zurich. Strength of organic chemical industry drew him to Zurich Mainly the pharaceutical and perfumery branches were of interest to Ruzicka. In 1930, Ciba renewed his contract for the laboratory. This joining led to scientifically and industrially important successes in the field of male sex hormones. In 1937 the Rockefeller Foundation provided financial backing for Ruzicka’s group to study triterpenes and steroids.

11 HONORS AND ACCOLADES Holds 8 honorary doctorates 4 in science 2 in medicine 1 in natural sciences 1 in law 7 prizes and medals 24 honorary memberships of chemical, biochemical, and other scientific societies. Received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1939 Married Anna Hausmann in 1912 Gertrud Acklin in 1951

12 AFTER THE NOBEL PRIZE After receiving the Nobel Prize in Chemistry Ruzicka continued to work for the EHT until 1957 During World War II He founded the Swiss-Yugoslav Relief Society This group worked to rescue Jewish scientists from Nazi Germany He became politically active Protested against the accumulation of atomic weapons. Leopold Ruzicka died just over a week after turning 89 in 1976. Here is a video showing more pictures relating to the life of Leopold Ruzicka. The video is in Croatian, but still provides authentic video from Ruzicka’s life.Here

13 REFERENCES (2011). Lavoslav (Leopold) Ruzicka (1887-1976). Retrieved from ruzicka-%281887-1976%29.html ruzicka-%281887-1976%29.html (2014). Leopold Ruzicka. Retrieved from The Nobel Foundation. (1936). Leopold Ruzicka-Biographical. Retrieved from icka-bio.html icka-bio.html (2014). Leopold Ruzicka-Vukovar, Croatia-Childhood homes. Retrieved from Vukovar_Croatia Vukovar_Croatia Kahn Acadamy. (2013, Sept. 18). From terpenes to steroids part 1: Terpenes. Retrieved from


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