Albert Eschenmoser

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Albert Eschenmoser
Born (1925-08-05) August 5, 1925 (age 90)
Erstfeld, Switzerland
Residence Switzerland
Nationality Swiss
Fields organic chemistry
Institutions ETH Zurich
Alma mater ETH Zurich
Doctoral advisor Lavoslav Ružička
Known for

Eschenmoser's salt

Synthesis of vitamin B12(along with Woodward)
Notable awards Marcel Benoist Prize (1972)
Davy Medal (1978)

Albert Eschenmoser (born August 5, 1925) is a Swiss chemist working at the ETH Zurich and The Scripps Research Institute.

His work together with Lavoslav Ružička on terpenes and the postulation of squalene cyclization to form lanosterol improved the insight into steroid biosynthesis.[1]

In the early 1960s, Eschenmoser began work on what was the most complex natural product synthesized at the time—vitamin B12. In a remarkable collaboration with his colleague Robert Burns Woodward at Harvard University, a team of almost one hundred students and postdoctoral workers worked for many years on the synthesis of this molecule. The work was finally published in 1973, and it marked a landmark in the history of organic chemistry.

The Eschenmoser fragmentation, the Eschenmoser sulfide contraction and Eschenmoser's salt are named after him.


Threose nucleic acid is an artificial genetic polymer invented by Albert Eschenmoser. TNA strings composed of repeating threose sugars linked together by phosphodiester bonds. Like DNA and RNA, TNA can store genetic information in strings of nucleotide sequences (G, A, C, and T). A researcher at the Center for Evolutionary Medicine, John Chaput, has theorized that issues concerning the prebiotic synthesis of ribose sugars and the non-enzymatic replication of RNA may provide circumstantial evidence of an earlier genetic system more readily produced under primitive earth conditions. TNA could have been an early pre dna genetic system.[2]



  1. ^ Eschenmoser et al. (1955)
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 383. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  4. ^ "Arthur C. Cope Award". ACS. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 


  • A. Eschenmoser, L. Ruzicka, O. Jeger, D. Arigoni (1955). "Zur Kenntnis der Triterpene. 190. Mitteilung. Eine stereochemische Interpretation der biogenetischen Isoprenregel bei den Triterpenen". Helvetica Chimica Acta (in German) 38 (7): 1890–1904. doi:10.1002/hlca.19550380728. 

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