• Heinrich Otto Wieland was born to Dr. Theodor Wieland and Elise Blum, on June 4, 1877. His father was a pharmaceutical chemist. Heinrich studied at the Universities of Munich, Berlin and Stuttgart, and received his doctorate under Johannes Thiele at the Baeyer Laboratory in Munich in 1901.
  • In 1904, Wieland started his academic career at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Wieland found that it was possible to detect and distinguish different forms of nitrogen in organic compounds. This discovery is considered to be one of the important milestones in the development of structural organic chemistry. He laid foundation for the Nobel Prize winning clarification on the bile acid during this period. He continued his work on that topic and which brought him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1927
  • During the selection process in 1927, the Nobel Committee for Chemistry decided that none of the year's nominations met the criteria as outlined in the will of Alfred Nobel. The Nobel Prize can in such a case be reserved until the following year, and this statute was then applied. Heinrich Wieland therefore received his Nobel Prize for 1927 one year later, in 1928.
  • In 1925, he joined Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) of Munich. He remained in that position till his retirement in 1950. Wieland was able to synthesize an organic compound called arsenical diphenylaminechlorarsine, to be used as riot control agent in 1915. Unfortunately, his discovery did not get much notice. It was later named Adamsite after Roger Adam, who developed it independently.
  • Wieland was instrumental in bridging the gap between Organic chemistry and Biochemistry. Much of Wieland's life work was occupied by the investigations into the oxidation processes in living cells, which enabled him to recognize dehydrogenation as a universal oxidation principle in Nature.
  • Wieland’s research continued until his retirement in 1950. He served as editor of the Annalen der chemie for over twenty years and received the Otto Hahn Prize in 1955. The great scholar's life was ruled by hard work, but also by love and kindness both to his pupils and to his family. Wieland died  on August 5, 1957 after celebrating his 80th birthday.

Contributed by Dr Ramars Amanchy, CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad