Theodor Svedberg

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Theodor Svedberg
Born Theodor Svedberg
(1884-08-30)30 August 1884
Fleräng, Valbo, Gävleborg, Sweden
Died 25 February 1971(1971-02-25) (aged 86)
Kopparberg, Sweden
Nationality Swedish
Alma mater Uppsala University
Known for analytical ultracentrifugation
Colloid chemistry
Awards Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1926)[1]
Franklin Medal (1949)
Fellow of the Royal Society (1944)[2]
Björkénska priset (1913, 1923, 1926)
Scientific career
Fields Biochemistry
Institutions Uppsala University
Gustaf Werner Institute
Doctoral advisor Carl Benedicks, Oskar Widman[citation needed]
Doctoral students Arne Tiselius[citation needed]

Theodor ("The") Svedberg (30 August 1884 – 25 February 1971) was a Swedish chemist and Nobel laureate for his research on colloids and proteins using the ultracentrifuge, active at Uppsala University.

Early life and education[edit]

Theodor Svedberg was born in Gävleborg, Sweden. He was the son of Augusta Alstermark and Elias Svedberg. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1905, his master's degree in 1907, and in 1908, he earned his Ph.D.[3]


Svedberg's work with colloids supported the theories of Brownian motion put forward by Albert Einstein and the Polish geophysicist Marian Smoluchowski. During this work, he developed the technique of analytical ultracentrifugation, and demonstrated its utility in distinguishing pure proteins one from another.[2][4]

Awards and honours[edit]

The unit svedberg (symbol S), a unit of time amounting to 10−13 s or 100 fs, is named after him, as well as the Svedberg Laboratory in Uppsala.[5]

Svedberg's candidacy for the Royal Society reads:

"distinguished for his work in physical and colloid chemistry and the development of the ultracentrifuge"[6]


  1. ^ Svedberg's Nobel Foundation biography
  2. ^ a b Claesson, S.; Pedersen, K. O. (1972). "The Svedberg 1884-1971". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 18: 594. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1972.0022. 
  3. ^ "The Svedberg Biography". Nobelprize. Nobel Media AB 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Kyle, R. A.; Shampo, M. A. (1997). "Theodor Svedberg and the ultracentrifuge". Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 72 (9): 830. doi:10.4065/72.9.830. PMID 9294529. 
  5. ^ "TSL - The Svedberg Laboratory". 
  6. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". London: The Royal Society. Retrieved 2013-11-13.