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A chemical crossword puzzle

October is nobel prize season. The perfect time to revisit the crossword about nobel prizes in chemistry which the Chemistry Olympiad created for this year's OlyDay. Whether you are a chemistry teacher looking for a fun activity for the last lesson of the day or just want to learn more - try it!

Stuck? Maybe these hints help.

OlyDay visitors solving the puzzle on September 30 (Image: Claudia Christen)


114. That is the number of Nobel Prizes awarded in Chemistry between 1901 and 2022. The Nobel Prize is awarded by the Nobel Foundation in Sweden, based on the fortune of Alfred Nobel. He was a scientist and entrepreneur. Nobel achieved the stabilisation and controlled ignition of 1 - Down.

This was the basis for the introduction of 2 - Down onto the market of explosives, dominated so far by black powder and the key for his fortune made in that industry.

The first Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1901 was awarded to Jacobus H. van 't Hoff. A famous equation is named after him, which deals with the temperature-dependence of chemical 3 - Across. Next up, in 1902, Hermann Emil Fischer received the Nobel Prize “in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered by his work on sugar and purine syntheses”.

If a chemist hears Fischer and sugar in one sentence, one immediately thinks of the Fischer- 4 - Down.

A certain way of representing a molecule, which is most common in sugar-chemistry. The first Nobel Prize in chemistry to be awarded to a Swiss Chemist was in 1913 to Alfred Werner. Hearing his name, we think of colourful complexes and coordination chemistry. In short, he revolutionised 5 - Across chemistry. What allowed the human population to grow to the extent it is today and supply it with enough food?

Many would agree that it is mainly due to the development of the Haber-Bosch process, where nitrogen from the air is turned into 6 - Across. The 6 - Across is then used among other things to synthesise nitrogen-containing fertilisers, which had an enormous impact on agricultural production. For this reason, Fritz Haber was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1918.

“For his investigations on 7 - Down, flavins and vitamins A and B2”, in 1937 Paul Karrer, at that time Professor at the university of Zürich received the Nobel Prize in chemistry together with Walter Norman Haworth. Karrer was the first person to isolate and structurally identify a vitamin, vitamin A. Later, his structural identification of vitamin B2 enabled the artificial production of the vitamin. Terpenes, a large and diverse class of biomolecules, were investigated and given their name by Leopold Ruzicka, who was a professor at ETH Zürich. Together with Adolf Friedrich Johann Butenandt, he received the Nobel Prize in chemistry 1939 for his work on Terpenes and polymethylenes.

A wellknown example for a terpene is 8 - Across, which can be found in our blood, cell membranes and its high levels in the blood are associated with atherosclerosis. Robert B. Woodward received the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1965 “for his outstanding achievements in the art of organic synthesis”.

He is also famous for his total synthesis of 9 - Down or cobalamin, which he conducted in collaboration with Albert Eschenmoser from ETH Zürich. If you are walking over the ETH Zürich campus at Hönggerberg, you may stumble upon the Vladimir Prelog-Weg. This street is named after one of the recipients of the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1975 and a former Professor at ETH Zürich.

Vladimir Prelog, together with John Warcup Cornforth for their work on stereochemistry of organic molecules and reactions and in the case of Cornforth for reactions catalysed by 10 - Down, nature’s catalysts.

Today, we wouldn’t want to imagine medicine without the ability to perform an MRI, short for 11 - Down resonance imaging. In 1991, another Swiss Chemist and former Professor at ETH Zürich, 2 Richard Ernst, received the Nobel Prize for his contributions into developing high resolution 12 - Down 11 - Down resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.

In 2002, Kurt Würthrich, Professor for Biophysics at ETH Zürich received the Nobel Prize in chemistry together with two other outstanding chemists, John B. Fenn and Koichi Tanaka. Würthrich received half of the Nobel Prize in 2002 for his research on 12 - Down 11 - Down resonance spectroscopy for the three-dimensional structure determination of biomolecules in solution.

Another Swiss Spectroscopist and Biophysicist, Jacques Dubochet was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2017 together with Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson. He is a Professor Emeritus of Biophysics at the University of Lausanne and is famous for playing an important role in the development of cryo- 13 - Down microscopy or short cryo-EM.

The most recent Chemistry Nobel Prize in 2022 was awarded to Carolyn Bertozzi, Morten Meldal and Berry Sharpless “for the development of click chemistry and 14 - Down chemistry”. 14 - Down meaning that the introduced reaction can occur in a biological environment without interfering with any native biochemical reaction.

Source: Nobel Prize Foundation. The Nobel Prize, 15 September 2023 https://www.nobelprize.org/


This month, the latest Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Moungi G. Bawendi, Louis E. Brus and Alexei I. Ekimov for the discovery and synthesis of quantum dots.

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