- 1931 Laureate of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Bergius’ father was a Silesian factory owner. His family had brought forth numerous achievements in the sciences. In 1903, he started studying chemistry and technology at the University of Breslau, where he attained his doctorate in 1907. In 1912, after obtaining his post-doctorate qualification required for professorship, he became an instructor at the Technical University for Physical Chemistry. He was specialized in the synthesis of chemical bonds via the chemical high-pressure method. In this area, he managed to produce diesel oil under high pressure using coal and oxygen as well as to develop a more efficient method to transform wood into sugar. In 1931, he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, together with Carl Bosch, for his achievements in this area. Yet his business activities were less successful. Accordingly, despite the services he rendered to science, he sank deeply into debt. He spent the last years of his life, after the war, in Buenos Aires, where he died in 1949.