Heini Staudinger Familie


Staudinger, Heini (1912-2001), was a prominent Swiss botanist and plant breeder. He developed new varieties of fruit trees such as pear, apple, and cherry, and made significant contributions to the science of genetics.

Heini Staudinger was born on March 2, 1912 in Winterthur, a city  near Zurich, Switzerland. His father, Albert Staudinger, a German born physicist, had moved to Switzerland when he was nine years old. Heini’s mother, Mathilde Reist, was a Swiss botanist. 

Staudinger studied biology at the University of Zurich, and in 1934 he received his doctorate with a  thesis on the morphology and physiology of the cytoplasm in plant cells. 

While studying for his doctorate, Staudinger spent six months studying in Germany and was exposed to the work of geneticists and biologists at universities such as Berlin, Munich, and Bonn. He was particularly impressed by the work of Hans von T  yllyaschky in Munich on the genetics of In 1935, Staudinger became an assistant professor at the University of Zurich, and two years later, at the age of 28, he was appointed a full professor. During this time he did research on plant chromosomes and gene structure and function.

In 1939, Staudinger married Ruth Ba  cklin, a chemist who had also studied in Germany. Together they had three children: Ruth, Helen, and Michael. 

Staudinger’s work on plant genetics led to his being arrested by the Swiss police in 1943. He was detained for six months before being transferred to Emmenberg, a small village near Zurich, where he  was kept under house arrest. 

At the end of the Second World War, Staudinger was released and he returned to the University of Zurich, where he continued his research into genetics. In 1946, he was elected president of the International Society of Genetics and in 1949, he was elected president of the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology  (IUBMB). 

The Nobel prize for a scientist working under wartime conditions received some criticism. The work in the area of macromolecules has been accomplished during the last decade, stated the Nobel Committee.

Heini Staudinger partner
Heini Staudinger partner

Heinz (Heini) Staudinger was born on 9 July 1897 in Charlottenburg, a western district of Berlin, Germany. He was the only child of Carl Staudinger, a merchant, and his wife Anna (née Kunzli  von Kunzlikofen). 

When he was 11 years old, Staudinger read his first science book and this marked the start of his fascination with polymers, large molecules made up of many identical molecular units. This idea was seemingly alien to scientists of the time and the very idea of polymers was widely ridiculed. This did not  deter Staudinger, who studied agricultural sciences at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany. In 1919, he moved to Heidelberg, Germany, to study chemistry under Walther Hermann Schönbein. Two years later, he moved to Berlin to work in an independent research group under Schönbein. Here  Staudinger completed his PhD in 1921 with a thesis on polymerisation reactions.

Mr. Kunzli was married to Emmy Elsa Kunzli. They had two children.

Staudinger moved to Munich, where he took a position as an advisor to the textile company Schliefhorst & Co. in 1922.. Two years later he published a groundbreaking paper about the polymer and its properties.”. In this paper he developed a model for the chain structure of high molecular mass polymers. The model has a long history. 

In 1926, Staudinger was appointed associate professor and  professor ordinarius  of organic chemistry at the University of Munich. He held this position until his emigration to the United States in 1938. 

Heini Staudinger Family time
Heini Staudinger Family time

Heini Staudinger was a prolific scientist, with over 250 scientific papers published in his lifetime. He worked in many fields of organic chemistry, but is remembered mainly for his work on polymers.

Staudinger wrote a lot. For his work on high molecular mass polymers, he received the Peter and Columella Prize from the University of Bonn in 1930.. Jthe chemistry npi prize for his discovery that ket enes can be built up into large molecules, said ust two years later

Upon arrival in the United States, Staudinger became a consultant for the E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company in Wilmington, Delaware. He continued his work in polymerisation and eventually wrote his memoir, Rubber, Silk, and Synthetic Fibers: A History of Manufacture  (New York, Wiley & Sons, 1938). Polymer science is a textbook..


Heini Staudinger died on 9 January 1966 in Bern, Switzerland, at the age of 78.

Discoveries made by Heini Staudinger

In 1921, while working in Zurich

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