life and work
Witkop was born in May 1917 as the son of Philipp Witkop - professor of modern German literature at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg - and his wife Hedwig Hirschborn. Following the advice of Richard Willstätter , who later won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry , he began studying chemistry at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich and, at the age of 23, received his doctorate in 1940 with a thesis on the isolation and crystallization of the mushroom poison phalloidin . His doctoral supervisor was Heinrich Otto Wieland , who defended himself in front of Bernhard Witkop and thus protected the (in Nazi jargon) half-Jewish chemist. Witkop stayed in Munich and Weihenstephan and completed his habilitation in 1946 at the LMU Munich. In 1947 Witkop emigrated to the USA. A scholarship enabled him to do research at Harvard University . There he made friends with the natural product chemist and later Nobel Prize winner Robert Burns Woodward . From 1950 Witkop worked at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda , Maryland, where he headed the "Laboratory of Chemistry" from 1957 to 1987.
In the last decades of his life, Witkop dealt with the history and philosophy of the natural sciences. Among other things, he dealt with the work of Emil Fischer , Heinrich Otto Wieland , Theodor Wieland , Percy Julian and Munio Kotake.
He published about 370 articles in scientific journals.
Bernhard Witkop was married to Marlene Prinz Witkop from 1945 until his death, with whom he had three children.
Prizes and awards (selection)
- 1969: Member of the National Academy of Sciences
- 1971: Member of the Leopoldina
- 1971: Paul Karrer Medal from the University of Zurich
- 1975: Order of the Sacred Treasure of the Emperor of Japan
- 1978: Admission to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
- 1990: Golden doctoral diploma from LMU Munich
- 1999: Member of the American Philosophical Society
- Member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts
- Brief overview of Witkop's academic achievements (PDF; 152 kB)
- Literature by and about Bernhard Witkop in the catalog of the German National Library
- Partial estate in the Leo Baeck Institute New York: Bernhard Witkop Collection (archive.org)
- Rolf Huisgen : Bernhard Witkop (1917 −2010) . In: Angewandte Chemie 123 (2011) 5723-5724.
- Member by Bernhard Witkop at the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina , accessed on August 26, 2016.
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||German-American chemist|
|DATE OF BIRTH||May 9, 1917|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Freiburg in Breisgau|
|DATE OF DEATH||November 22, 2010|
|Place of death||Chevy Chase , Maryland, USA|