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Norman Haworth

Norman HaworthAKA Walter Norman Haworth

Born: 19-Mar-1883
Birthplace: Chorley, Lancashire, England
Died: 19-Mar-1950
Location of death: Birmingham, England
Cause of death: Heart Failure

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Chemist

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Carbohydrates and vitamin C

British chemist Norman Haworth won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1937 for his numerous contributions to carbohydrate chemistry. He synthesized sylvestrene in 1912, determined the correct cyclic model for glucose (starch sugar) in 1925, and in collaboration with Edmund Hirst (18981975) in 1933 he became the first scientist to synthesize vitamin C, which Haworth named ascorbic (meaning anti-scorbutic or anti-scurvy) acid. This allowed the manufacture of vitamin C pills that provided an effective and inexpensive way to treat and prevent scurvy.

His parents had disapproved of his interest in chemistry, and though his father made a comfortable living manufacturing linoleum he refused to pay for Haworth's education past the age of 14. With scholarships he was able to attend the University of Manchester, and he later studied under Otto Wallach. He also determined the structures of the monosaccharides fructose, galactose, and mannose; the disaccharides cellobiose, lactose, and maltose; and the polysaccharides cellulose, glycogen, inulin, starch, and xylan. His method for determining the formula of glucose and other carbohydrates is still known to organic chemists as the Haworth formula or Haworth projection. He was knighted in 1947, and died in 1950.

Father: Thomas Haworth (linoleum manufacturer)
Mother: Hannah Haworth
Wife: Violet Chilton (m. 1922, two sons)

    University: BS Chemistry, University of Manchester (1906)
    University: PhD Chemistry, University of Göttingen (1910)
    Lecturer: Chemistry, Imperial College London (1911-12)
    Lecturer: Chemistry, University of St. Andrews (1912-20)
    Professor: Chemistry, Durham University (1920-25)
    Professor: Mason Professor of Chemistry, University of Birmingham (1925-48)
    Administrator: Dean of the Faculty of Science, University of Birmingham (1947-48)

    Longstaff Medal 1933
    Davy Medal 1934
    Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1937 (with Paul Karrer)
    Royal Medal 1942
    Knight of the British Empire 1947
    Royal Society 1928
    British Chemical Society President, 1944-46
    Royal Society Vice President, 1947-48
    Heart Attack 19-Mar-1950 (fatal)
    English Ancestry

Author of books:
The Constitution of Sugars (1929, chemistry)

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