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Oral history interview with Vladimir Prelog

  • 1984-Jan-17

Oral history interview with Vladimir Prelog

  • 1984-Jan-17

In this interview Vladimir Prelog discusses his career as an organic chemist. Prelog describes a thirty five year long affiliation with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). This includes work with the chemistry of natural products and with stereochemistry, and his creation (with Cahn and Ingold) of the CIP system for defining absolute configuration.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 38 pages
Rights Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

About the Interviewer

Tonja A. Koeppel received a master’s degree in chemistry from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in 1944. Since then she has written about chemistry, done research, and taught college chemistry. Dr. Koeppel is also a historian of chemistry. In 1973 she earned a PhD degree in the history and sociology of science from the University of Pennsylvania. She is especially interested in the development of organic chemistry in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Institutional location

Oral history number 0038

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • July 23, 1906
  • Sarajevo
  • January 07, 1998
  • Zürich, Switzerland


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1929 České vysoké učení technické v Praze DSc Chemistry

Professional Experience

Laboratory of G.J. Driza

  • 1929 to 1935 Head

Sveučilište u Zagrebu

  • 1935 to 1941 Lecturer and Associate Professor

Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich

  • 1942 to 1950 Lecturer and Associate Professor
  • 1950 to 1976 Professor
  • 1957 to 1965 Head, Laboratory of Organic Chemistry


Year(s) Award
1946 Werner Medal and Prize, Swiss Chemical Society
1962 Stas Medal, Belgian Chemical Society
1962 Medal of Honor, Rice University
1965 Marcel Benoist Prize, Switzerland
1966 Hanus Medal, Czechoslovakian Chemical Society
1967 A. W. von Hofmann Memorial Medal, German Chemical Society
1968 Davy Medal, Royal Society of London
1969 Roger Adams Award, American Chemical Society
1974 Paul Karrer Award, University of Zürich
1975 Nobel Prize for Chemistry
1976 Paracelsus Medal
1977 Order of the Yugoslavian Star
1977 Order of the Rising Sun, Japan
1978 Emil Votocek Medal, Chemical-Technical University, Prague

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PDF — 207 KB

The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Complete Interview Audio File Web-quality download

5 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads