Leopold Stephan Ruzicka (1887-1976)
'Prof. L. Ruzicka is to leave Utrecht' read the headline of the newspaper the Utrechts Dagblad on 24 June 1929: 'Losing this scientist, who is one of the greatest minds in the field of organic chemistry, means a great loss for Utrecht and for our country. In the area of scents he is world-famous. One of his greatest discoveries was the synthetic production of musk'.
In 1926 Ruzicka was drawn to Utrecht University by the high scientific level chemistry enjoyed at the university. He was mainly interested in organic chemistry, which had developed into one of the most important fields of natural science. Ruzika, like many others hoping to find the scientific principles of life, build on the theory of spatial positioning of atoms as this had been developed by the other Nobel Prize winner from Utrecht Van 't Hoff.
Ruzicka studied the atomic structure of for example camphor, amino acids and higher terpene compounds. He discovered that muskone and civetone - the odours in musk and civet - contained only one ring of carbon atoms and that this ring consisted of more atoms that had ever been deemed possible.
In 1939 he was awarded his Nobel Prize but he could not collect his medal and certificate until after the Second World War.