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Published: Kem. Ind. 56 (3) (2007) 109–113
Paper reference number: KUI-20/2006
Paper type: Conference paper
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Nobelprize Winner Vladimir Prelog – Teacher of Croatian Chemists

K. Kovačević


The life-path of Vladimir Prelog: from Sarajevo, his birth place, through the school years in Zagreb and Osijek, to his studies in Prague is described in a popular manner and illustrated with lots of photographs. Prelog’s scientific and educational work at the Technical Faculty of Zagreb University (1935–1941) is also shortly described. During this period, Prelog published numerous scientific articles and patents, together with his graduate and PhD students, as well as with researchers from a small pharmaceutical company “Kaštel d. d.”, the predecessor of PLIVA. This so-called “Prelog’s school of organic chemistry” had several generations. The first one represents earlier mentioned collaborators from the period before World War II: Eugen Guštak, Adolf Režek and Pavao Mildner (graduate students); Dragutin Kohlbach, Eugen Cerkovnikov, Miha Piantanida, Rativoj Seiwerth and Mihovil Proštenik (PhD students); Krešimir Balenović (postdoctoral student); as well as other researchers such as Viktor Hahn, Suzana Heimbach, Ljubo Trinajstić and Ernest Reiner. Prelog’s departure to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich, as well as his scientific success in Switzerland is described as well. The focus is put on numerous guest-researchers from Croatia in his laboratory in Zurich. After their stay with Prelog, a majority of them returned to Croatia, taking the key positions in the scientific life at Zagreb University, Ruđer Bošković Institute, or at the PLIVA – Research Institute. The members of this second generation of Prelog’s postdoc students are Dušan Dvornik, Stanko Borčić, Mirko Ternbach, Berislav Glunčić, Branimir Gašpert, Rade Marušić and Vitomir Šunjić. After Prelog received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1975, a new group of researchers from Croatia went to work in his laboratory. This was the third group of his postdoc students: Davor Bedeković, Nada Šarčević, Ýarko Stojanac, Mladen Ýinić, Kruno Kovačević, Stjepan Mutak, Miljenko Dumić and Miće Kovačević. Contacts, which Prelog continuously maintained with his former students, accompanied with numerous photographs of his visit to Zagreb, or photographs with his collaborators from Croatia who visited him in Zürich, is also described. Prelog’s relation towards the Homeland war for the liberation of the country during the 1990s is also explained. Finally, some actions showing Croatian thankfulness to Prelog is mentioned. This article is also a sign of our gratefulness to our world-famous scientist.

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nobelprize, Vladimir Prelog, teacher, croatian chemists, three generations