TUM – TUM – Menu

Commemorative coin in honor of Ernst Otto Fischer, winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry

On the 100th anniversary of TUM professor Ernst Otto Fischer’s birth

The two sides of the commemorative coin in honour of the Nobel laureate and former TUM professor Ernst Otto Fischer. (Source: BVA/ Design: Katrin Pannicke/ Photo: H.-J. Wuthenow)
The two sides of the commemorative coin in honour of the Nobel laureate and former TUM professor Ernst Otto Fischer. (Source: BVA/ Design: Katrin Pannicke/ Photo: H.-J. Wuthenow)

Campus news

Ernst Otto Fischer, former Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), established a new branch of chemistry with his research on metal-carbon compounds. His work fundamentally changed the prevailing understanding of chemical formation at the time. In honor of the 100th anniversary of his birth the Federal Government of Germany is issuing a commemorative 20 euro coin in October 2018. It shows Fischer’s most famous structure: bis(benzene)chromium. He was awarded the 1973 Nobel Prize for this breakthrough.

In honour of Ernst Otto Fischer, former Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at TUM, and his scientific achievements, the German government is issuing a commemorative 20 euro coin for the “100th anniversary of the birth of Ernst Otto Fischer”.  Having successfully synthesized bis(benzene)chromium in 1955, Fischer (1918 to 2007) is regarded as one of the main founders of organometallic chemistry.

Organometallic compounds are complexes in which an organic residue is bound directly to a metal atom. Fischer is best known for his research into organometallic sandwich complexes in which the metal atom is embedded like a slice of cheese between two slices of bread in the middle of two aromatic rings.

Pioneer of organometallic chemistry

With his work, the chemist was the first to shed light on how such a metal-carbon compound is characterized. He thereby ushered in the spread of organometallic chemistry into many research laboratories worldwide. Fischer received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1973 for his groundbreaking research — together with Geoffrey Wilkinson from Imperial College London, who had carried out similar syntheses independently of Fischer at the same time.

The commemorative coin was designed by the artist Katrin Pannicke from Halle an der Saale. The obverse of the coin shows an artistically transformed model of bis(benzene)chromium. The reverse shows an eagle and the edge of the coin bears the inscription “NATURWISSENSCHAFTEN SIND WEDER GUT NOCH BOESE” (“Natural sciences are neither good nor evil”).  

The commemorative coin with a nominal value of 20 euros can be purchased from the Deutsche Bundesbank branches starting on October 11, 2018. Pre-ordering of the coins in proof quality is available as of now at the point of sale for collector’s coins at a price of €34.95 each: