Klaus Biemann

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Klaus Biemann
Klaus Biemann NAS.jpg
Born(1926-11-02)November 2, 1926
DiedJune 2, 2016(2016-06-02) (aged 89)
Alma materUniversity of Innsbruck
Ph.D. Organic Chemistry 1951
Known forMars Viking mass spectrometer[1]
AwardsBenjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry (2007)
NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal (1977))
Scientific career
FieldsMass spectrometry
InstitutionsMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Academic advisorsGeorge Büchi
Doctoral studentsJohn M. Hayes[2]
Jack T. Watson

Klaus Biemann (November 2, 1926 – June 2, 2016)[3][4] was an Austrian-American professor of chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[5] His work centered on structural analysis in organic and biochemistry. He has been called the "father of organic mass spectrometry"[6] but was particularly noted for his role in advancing protein sequencing with tandem mass spectrometry[7] following pioneering work conducted in this area by Michael Barber.[8]

Career and research[edit]

Biemann was born in Innsbruck, Austria in 1926. Following in the footsteps of his father, he studied Pharmacy at the University of Innsbruck where he graduated in 1948.[9] He served in the Wehrmacht after the annexation of Austria by Germany in 1938 (Anschluss) and fought the US and its allies on the Eastern Front.[10] He received his PhD at the University of Innsbruck supervised by Hermann Bretschneider in 1951. He started his work on his habilitation, but instead moved to the MIT in 1955 to work as a postdoctoral fellow in the group of George Büchi.[9] Two years later with the assistance of Büchi, he was offered a faculty position at MIT in the analytical chemistry division where he turned his focus to peptide analysis and sequencing. Before embarking on his new research, however, Biemann decided to buy a mass spectrometer and use it to study peptides instead. He used his background in organic chemistry to modify peptides so that they become volatile and entered the gas phase, making them amenable to electron ionization, the only feasible ionization technique at the time.[9] He partnered on the NASA Viking mission project to Mars which failed to detect organic matter on its the surface in 1976.

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ Biemann K (2007). "On the ability of the Viking gas chromatograph–mass spectrometer to detect organic matter". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 104 (25): 10310–3. Bibcode:2007PNAS..10410310B. doi:10.1073/pnas.0703732104. PMC 1965509. PMID 17548829.
  2. ^ Hayes, John Michael (1966). Techniques for high resolution mass spectrometric analysis of organic constituents of terrestrial and extraterrestrial samples (PhD thesis). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. OCLC 18679992. ProQuest 302307231. (subscription required)
  3. ^ The Encyclopedia of Mass Spectrometry: Volume 9, page 30
  4. ^ Klaus Biemann, professor emeritus of chemistry, dies at 89
  5. ^ "In Memoriam: Klaus Biemann (1926–2016)". Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry. 27 (10): 1583–1589. 2016. Bibcode:2016JASMS..27.1583.. doi:10.1007/s13361-016-1470-5. ISSN 1044-0305. S2CID 25833096.
  6. ^ Chung, Deborah D. L. (2006). The Road to Scientific Success: Inspiring Life Stories of Prominent Researchers (Road to Scientific Success). World Scientific Publishing Company. ISBN 981-256-600-7.
  7. ^ Biemann, Klaus (2007). "Laying the groundwork for proteomics". International Journal of Mass Spectrometry. Elsevier. 259 (1–3): 1–7. doi:10.1016/j.ijms.2006.08.002.
  8. ^ Morris HR, Panico M, Barber M, Bordoli RS, Sedgwick RD, Tyler A (1981). "Fast atom bombardment: a new mass spectrometric method for peptide sequence analysis". Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 101 (2): 623–31. doi:10.1016/0006-291X(81)91304-8. PMID 7306100.
  9. ^ a b c "The Encyclopedia of Mass Spectrometry".
  10. ^ "In Memoriam: Klaus Biemann (1926–2016)".
  11. ^ a b c d "Klaus Biemann". Franklin Laureate Database. Archived from the original on February 8, 2012. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  12. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  13. ^ "Klaus Biemann". John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. Archived from the original on September 21, 2012. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  14. ^ "Frank H. Field and Joe L. Franklin Award for Outstanding Achievement in Mass Spectrometry". American Chemical Society. Archived from the original on October 5, 2011. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  15. ^ "ACS Award in Analytical Chemistry". American Chemical Society. Archived from the original on October 5, 2011. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  16. ^ "Thomson Medals, 2009". International Mass Spectrometry Foundation. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  17. ^ a b "Klaus Biemann Receives Beckman-ABRF Award". Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities. Archived from the original on March 25, 2012. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  18. ^ "Biemann, Klaus". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved June 25, 2011.