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Adolf Otto Reinhold Windaus (25 December 1876 – 9 June 1959) was a German chemist who won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1928 for his work on sterols and their relation to vitamins. He was the doctoral advisor of Adolf Butenandt who also won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1939.

Adolf Otto Reinhold Windaus
Born25 December 1876
Died9 June 1959(1959-06-09) (aged 82)
AwardsNobel Prize for Chemistry (1928)
Scientific career
FieldsOrganic chemistry
Doctoral advisorHeinrich Kiliani[citation needed]
Doctoral studentsAdolf Butenandt
Erhard Fernholz
Adolf Windaus' grave in Göttingen

Adolf Windaus was born in Berlin. His interest in chemistry was raised by lectures of Emil Fischer. He started studying medicine and chemistry in Berlin and later in Freiburg. He got his PhD in early 1900[citation needed] and focused on cholesterol and other sterols at the University of Freiburg. In 1913 he became professor of chemistry at the University of Innsbruck[chronology citation needed] and in 1915 he changed to the University of Göttingen[chronology citation needed] where he stayed until his retirement in 1944[chronology citation needed].

He was involved in the discovery of the transformation of cholesterol through several steps to vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol). He gave his patents to Merck and Bayer and they brought out the medical Vigantol in 1927.[1]

vitamin D3



  1. ^ Haas, Jochen (2007). "Vigantol – Adolf Windaus und die Geschichte des Vitamin D" [Vigantol – Adolf Windaus and the history of vitamin D]. Wurzbg Medizinhist Mitt. 26: 144–81. PMID 18354894.


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