Hrvatski

CROATIAN NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS

Type: P
The stamp has been issued in a 20-stamp sheets, and there is also the First Day Cover (FDC).
Number: 417

CROATIAN NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS - VLADIMIR PRELOG

Through the merit of both our Nobel prize winners, Ružička and Prelog, Zurich has become one of the most significant centres of modern organic chemistry. Prelog received the 1975 Nobel prize for chemistry for his merits on the field of natural compounds and stereochemistry, sharing the prize with the British research chemist J.W.Cornforth.

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Value:3,5 HRK
Design:Danijel Popović, designer from Zagreb
Size:25,56 x 35,5 mm
Paper:white 102 g, gummed
Perforation:14, comb
Technique:Multicolor Offset Printing
Printed by:"Zrinski" - Čakovec
Date of issue:05.12.2001.
Quantity:350000
The stamp has been issued in a 20-stamp sheets, and there is also the First Day Cover (FDC). VLADIMIR PRELOG, winner of the Nobel prize for chemistry in 1975, was born in Sarajevo, at that time within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, on July 23, 1906. He attended high school in Zagreb and Osijek, and graduated from the Technical School in Prague in 1929 with the degree of chemical engineer. His professor there was Emil Votoček, and he was tutored by the professor’s assistant Rudolf Lukeš who introduced him to the fascinating world of organic chemistry. After gaining the SC. D degree of doctor of chemistry he started working in a small private plant where he was in charge of the production of rare chemicals not to be found on the market, while he spent his free time continuing his own research. In Prague, following his interest in the chemistry of natural compounds he started investigating alkaloids from the cacao bark. In 1935, due to the invitation of the Technical Faculty of the University of Zagreb, Prelog accepted the post of senior lecturer in organic chemistry and took over the running of the Institute of Organic Chemistry, and he also taught organic chemistry to students of chemical engineering. With the help of some younger collaborators and students, sponsored financially by the pharmaceutical factory "Kašel", the present-day "Pliva", he started a research of the chemistry of quinine and related compounds. Co-operation with the industry yielded a financially very successful production of Streptazol, one of the first commercial sulfonylamides. Prelog’s scientific work in Zagreb was crowned by the first synthesis of adamantane, the hydrocarbone with an unusual alicyclic structure, isolated from the Moravian oil. The results of Prelog’s work have been published in the top European chemical journals and made the organic chemistry developed in Zagreb at that time known and identifiable in the world. In 1941 he accepted the invitation of Lavoslav Ružička and left for Zurich, to the Federal Technical High School - ETH. He was promoted, starting from private senior lecturer to end up becoming professor, and after Ružička’s retirement Prelog took over the running of the organic chemistry laboratory where he continued expanding its activity. The areas he investigated were unusual: heterocyclic compounds, alkaloids, alicyclic compounds, isolation and study of biochemically active compounds found in smaller quantities in animal organisms, the structure of antibiotics and the stereochemistry of enzyme reactions. By his research he has contributed to the explanation of the structure of steroids, triterpene, quinine, strichnine, solanine and other alkaloids. He has introduced the so called Prelog’s regulation that determines the conformational relations between the reactants and products. In co-operation with Robert Cahn and Sir Christopher Ingold he formulated the so called CIP system, applied generally in stereometry. His scientific opus encompasses more than 400 works. As a teacher of organic chemistry and a lecturer of distinctive style and eloquence, he has trained many generations of chemists. Through the merit of both our Nobel prize winners, Ružička and Prelog, Zurich has become one of the most significant centres of modern organic chemistry. Prelog received the 1975 Nobel prize for chemistry for his merits on the field of natural compounds and stereochemistry, sharing the prize with the British research chemist J.W.Cornforth. In 1986 he became honorary member of the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences. He liked jokes and was an inexhaustible source of anecdotes about almost all eminent chemists all over the world. He was an intellectual possessing a wide cultural background. Unlike Ružička, he never insisted on exercising his authority and tried to avoid any sort of confrontation. He was one of the people who have signed the peace appeal for Croatia which was signed by 109 Nobel prize winners in 1991. His attitude to human nature was somewhat ironical and slightly cynical, and he was suspicious of high social, political or religious aspirations. Being an introspective person, he rarely allowed people to get an insight into his inner life. He died at his Zurich home on January 7, 1998. Dr. Dionis Sunko


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