Manfred Eigen, Göttingen 1996
|Died||6 February 2019 91) (aged|
|Alma mater||University of Göttingen|
|Thesis||Ermittlung der molekularen Struktur reiner Flüssigkeiten und Lösungen aus thermischen und kalorischen Eigenschaften (1951)|
|Doctoral advisor||Arnold Eucken|
|Doctoral students||Geoffrey Hoffmann|
|Website||Official listing at Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry|
Eigen's research helped solve major problems in physical chemistry and aided in the understanding of chemical processes that occur in living organisms.
In later years, he explored the biochemical roots of life and evolution. He worked to install a multidisciplinary program at the Max Planck Institute to study the underpinnings of life at the molecular level. His work was hailed for creating a new scientific and technological discipline: evolutionary biotechnology.
Education and early life
Eigen was born on 9 May 1927 in Bochum, the son of Hedwig (Feld) and Ernst Eigen, a chamber musician. As a child he developed a deep passion for music, and studied piano.
World War II interrupted his formal education. At age fifteen he was drafted into service in a German antiaircraft unit. He was captured by the Soviets toward the end of the war. He managed to escape (he said later that escape was relatively easy), and walked hundreds of miles across defeated Germany, arriving in Göttingen in 1945. He lacked the necessary documentation for acceptance to university, but was admitted after he demonstrated his knowledge in an exam. He entered the university's first postwar class.
Eigen desired to study Physics, but since returning soldiers who were previously enrolled received priority, he enrolled in Geophysics. He earned an undergraduate degree and entered graduate study in natural sciences. One of his advisors was Werner Heisenberg, the noted proponent of the uncertainty principle. He received his doctorate in 1951.
Career and research
Eigen received his Ph.D. at the University of Göttingen in 1951 under supervision of Arnold Eucken. In 1964 he presented the results of his research at a meeting of the Faraday Society in London. His findings demonstrated for the first time that it was possible to determine that rates of chemical reactions that occurred during time intervals as brief as a nanosecond.
Beginning in 1953 Eigen worked at the Max Planck Institute for Physical Chemistry in Göttingen, becoming its director in 1964 and joining it with the Max Planck Institute for Spectroscopy to become the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry. He was an honorary professor of the Braunschweig University of Technology. From 1982 to 1993, Eigen was president of the German National Merit Foundation. Eigen was a member of the Board of Sponsors of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
In 1967, Eigen was awarded, along with Ronald George Wreyford Norrish and George Porter, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. They were cited for their studies of extremely fast chemical reactions induced in response to very short pulses of energy.
In addition, Eigen's name is linked with the theory of quasispecies, the error threshold, error catastrophe, Eigen's paradox, and the chemical hypercycle, the cyclic linkage of reaction cycles as an explanation for the self-organization of prebiotic systems, which he described with Peter Schuster in 1977.
Eigen founded two biotechnology companies, Evotec and Direvo.
In 1981, Eigen became a founding member of the World Cultural Council.
Eigen was a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences even though he was an atheist. He died on 6 February 2019 at the age of 91.
Honours and awards
Eigen won numerous awards for his research including:
- Otto Hahn Prize (1962)
- Honorary doctorate from Harvard University (1966)
- Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1967), shared with Ronald George Wreyford Norrish and George Porter, for his studies on the kinetics of extremely fast running chemical reactions with relaxation methods
- Member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences (now the Russian Academy of Sciences) (1976)
- Elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 1973
- Pour le Mérite (1973)
- Faraday Lectureship Prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry in 1977
- Austrian Decoration for Science and Art
- Lower Saxony State Prize for Science (1980)
- Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize (1992)
- Helmholtz Medal (Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1994)
- Max Planck Research Award (1994), jointly with Rudolf Rigler of the Karolinska Institute
- Honorary member of the Ruhr University Bochum (2001)
- Lifetime Achievement Award from the Institute of Human Virology in Baltimore (2005)
- Wilhelm Exner Medal (2011)
- Weisskopf, V. F.; Eyring, H.; Eyring, E. M. (1967), "Nobel Prizes: 4 named for international award (Hans Bethe, Manfred Eigen, R.G. Norrish, George Porter)", Science (published 10 November 1967), 158 (3802), pp. 745–8, Bibcode:1967Sci...158..745W, doi:10.1126/science.158.3802.745, PMID 4860395
- "Professor Manfred Eigen ForMemRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015.
- Manfred Eigen at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
- Winkler-Oswatitsch, R. (1987), "Manfred Eigen. Scientist and musician", Biophys. Chem. (published 9 May 1987), 26 (2–3), pp. 109–15, doi:10.1016/0301-4622(87)80015-7, PMID 3300805
- Weil, Martin (12 February 2019). "Obituaries: Manfred Eigen". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
- "Manfred Eigen Festschrift: special issue dedicated to Professor Manfred Eigen on the occasion of his 60th birthday", Biophys. Chem. (published 9 May 1987), 26 (2–3), pp. 101–390, 1987, PMID 3300802
- Schlögl, R. W. (1997), "To Manfred Eigen on his 70th birthday", Biophys. Chem. (published 30 June 1997), 66 (2–3), pp. 71–3, doi:10.1016/S0301-4622(97)00075-6, PMID 17029872
- "Eigen – Biographical". NobelPrize.org. Nobel Media AB. 2019. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
- Czikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (2013). Creativity: The psychology of discovery and invention. Harper Perennial. p. 54.
- "List of publications by Manfred Eigen", Biophys. Chem. (published 9 May 1987), 26 (2–3), pp. 103–8, 1987, doi:10.1016/0301-4622(87)80014-5, PMID 3300804
- "Curriculum vitae of Manfred Eigen", Biophys. Chem. (published 9 May 1987), 26 (2–3), p. 102, 1987, doi:10.1016/0301-4622(87)80013-3, PMID 3300803
- Dainton, F.; Thrush, B. A. (1981). "Ronald George Wreyford Norrish. 9 November 1897-7 June 1978". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 27: 379–424. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1981.0016. ISSN 0080-4606.
- Fleming, G. R.; Phillips, D. (2004). "George Porter KT OM, Lord Porter of Luddenham. 6 December 1920 - 31 August 2002: Elected F.R.S. 1960". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 50: 257–283. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2004.0017. ISSN 0080-4606.
- Eigen & Schuster (1977) The Hypercycle. A Principle of Natural Self-Organisation. Part A: Emergence of the Hypercycle. Naturwissenschaften Vol. 64, pp. 541–565.
- Eigen & Schuster (1978) The Hypercycle. A Principle of Natural Self-Organisation. Part B: The Abstract Hypercycle. Naturwissenschaften Vol. 65, pp. 7–41.
- Eigen & Schuster (1978) The Hypercycle. A Principle of Natural Self-Organisation. Part C: The Realistic Hypercycle. Naturwissenschaften Vol. 65, pp. 341–369.
- Manfred Eigen and Peter Schuster The Hypercycle: A principle of natural self-organization, 1979, Springer ISBN 0-387-09293-5
- Jackle H, Rotte C, & Gruss P (2017) Manfred Eigen: the realization of his vision of Biophysical Chemistry. European biophysics journal Vol. 47, pp. 319-323.
- "About Us". World Cultural Council. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
- "HKHPE 03 02". www.hanskrause.de. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
- "Manfred Eigen, 1967 Nobel Chemistry Laureate, Dies at 91". The New York Times. 7 February 2019. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
- Merlot, Julia (7 February 2019). "Der Bezwinger des Unmessbaren". Der Spiegel (in German). Hamburg. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
- "Göttingen Nobel Laureate Manfred Eigen has died". The Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry. Göttingen. 7 February 2019. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
- Lindinger, Manfred (7 February 2019). "Die Klaviatur des Lebens". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 9 February 2019.
- "Manfred Eigen". www.mpibpc.mpg.de. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
- "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1967 – Nobelprize.org". Retrieved 2 April 2013.
- "Manfred Eigen". www.pas.va.
- "Pour le Mérite: Manfred Eigen" (PDF). www.orden-pourlemerite.de. 2019. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
- "Vita". www.mpibpc.mpg.de.
- "Academy of Europe: Eigen Manfred". www.ae-info.org.
- "Der Niedersächsische Staatspreis". Portal Niedersachsen. 2019. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
- Brünjes, Angela (5 December 2014). "Manfred Eigen erhielt 1967 den Nobelpreis für Chemie". Göttinger Tageblatt (in German). Retrieved 7 February 2019.
- Editor, ÖGV. (2015). Wilhelm Exner Medal. Austrian Trade Association. ÖGV. Austria.
- Manfred Eigen, "From Strange Simplicity to Complex Familiarity: A Treatise on Matter, Information, Life and Thought." 2013 Oxford University Press.
- Eigen (1971) Selforganization of matter and the evolution of biological macromolecules. Naturwissenschaften, Vol. 58, Nr. 10, pp. 465–523.
- Manfred Eigen, Ruthild Winkler: The Laws of the Game: How The Principles of Nature Govern Chance, 1983, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-02566-5
- Manfred Eigen, "Molekulare Selbstorganisation und Evolution." (Self organization of matter and the evolution of biological macro molecules.) Naturwissenschaften 58 (10). 1971 pp. 465–523. In English. Influential theoretical paper on origin-of-life biochemistry.
- Manfred Eigen tells his life story at Web of Stories (video)
- Interview with Manfred Eigen by Harry Kroto, NL Freeview video provided by the Vega Science Trust.
- "Falls ein Gott die Naturgesetze erschuf, so erschuf er auch das Leben durch Evolution" (in German) Interview with Manfred Eigen from 2004, Archive