Odd Hassel - Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry 1969
One of the University of Oslo’s most lauded professors, Odd Hassel was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1969 for his study of organic compounds.
Odd Hassel was born in Oslo 17 May 1897. At 18 he became a student at the university, earning a science degree five years later in 1920. After a sabbatical year, he went to Germany, first Munich and then Berlin, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1924.
Hassel was a fellow at the University of Oslo from 1925 to 1926 and was appointed associate professor at the Department of Chemistry. In 1934 he was appointed Norway’s first professor of physical chemistry.
Odd Hassel shared the 1969 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Sir Derek H.R. Barton for his groundbreaking work in the structure and transformation of organic molecules. Hassel was particularly interested in cyclohexanes and cyclohexane derivatives. As part of this investigation, he conducted a series of dipole moment measurements, and is among the pioneers in determining molecular structure in the gaseous phase with the aid of electron diffraction.
Hassel continued his work during World War II, but was arrested in 1943 and imprisoned until November 1944. He resumed his scientific work after the war.
Besides the Nobel Prize, Hassel has received numerous honorary awards. He was honorary doctor at the University of Copenhagen and in Stockholm, and member of the Royal Norwegian Society of Scientists as well as corresponding societies in Sweden and Denmark. Hassel was a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and the Chemical Society of London. He was awarded the prestigious Gunnerus medal in 1964 and in the same year was the first to receive the Guldberg-Waage medal.
Odd Hassel died in 1981.