Walter Hieber

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Walter Hieber
Born (1895-12-18)18 December 1895
Died 29 November 1976(1976-11-29) (aged 80)
Alma mater University of Tübingen,
University of Würzburg,
University of Heidelberg
Scientific career
Institutions Technical University Munich,
University of Heidelberg,
University of Greifswald,
University of Marburg
Doctoral students Ernst Otto Fischer

Walter Hieber (18 December 1895 – 29 November 1976) was an inorganic chemist, known as the father of metal carbonyl chemistry.[1][2] He was born 18 December 1895 and died 29 November 1976. Hieber's father was Johannes Hieber, an influential evangelical minister and politician.

Hieber was educated at Tübingen,[3] Würzburg,[4] and Heidelberg. In 1935 he was appointed Director of the Inorganic Chemical Institute at the Technical University in Münich.

Among his numerous research findings, Hieber prepared the first metal carbonyl hydrides such as H2Fe(CO)4 and HMn(CO)5. He discovered that metal carbonyls undergo nucleophilic attack by hydroxide, the “Hieber base reaction.”[5] He and his students discovered several metal carbonyl compounds such as Re2(CO)10 and Os3(CO)12[6] He pioneered the development of metal carbonyl sulfides.[7] Hieber is also known for his work with the cis effect, also known as the labilization of CO ligands in the cis position in octahedral complexes.

Hieber was highly decorated for his work, including in 1951 the Alfred Stock Prize. One of his most famous students was Nobel prize winner Ernst Otto Fischer. His first foreign student was John Anderson, FRS, in 1931.


  1. ^ Fischer, E. O. (1979). "Walter Hieber 1895-1976". Chemische Berichte. 112 (2): XXI–XXXIX. doi:10.1002/cber.19791120241.
  2. ^ "Walter Hieber". Chemische Berichte. 110 (2): XXI–XXXIX. 1977. doi:10.1002/cber.19771100245.
  3. ^ Über Komplexverbindungen des dreiwertigen Eisens mit unterphosphoriger Säure, Dissertation, Tübingen 1919.
  4. ^ Zur Kenntnis der chemischen Reaktionen des Eisencarbonyls, Habil.-Schrift, Würzburg 1929.
  5. ^ Hieber, W.; Leutert, F. “Uber Metallcarbonyle. XlI. Die Basenreaktion des Eisenpentacarbonyls und die Bildung des Eisencarbonylwasserstoffs” Zeitschrift für anorganische und allgemeine Chemie. 1932, volume 204, pages 145-164.
  6. ^ Hieber, W. and Stallmann, H., "Über Osmiumcarbonyle", Zeitschrifft fur Elektrochemie, 1943, volume 49, page 288-292.
  7. ^ Hieber, W. and Scharfenberg, C., "Einwirkung organischer Schwefelverbindungen auf die Carbonyls des Eisens", Chemische Berichte, 1940, volume 73, pages 1012-1021.