Biochemist Hans Tubby dies –

Dubey completed a remarkable career in higher education politics and achieved international success as a researcher. His extensive scientific research ranged from the elucidation of the structure of insulin to the biochemistry of blood group products.


In 1983, Tubby was elected rector of the University of Vienna

As a young scientist, Tuppi made Nobel Prize-worthy breakthroughs and, as the biochemist Gottfried Schatz once put it, created a “little oasis” in the “Austrian university desert” in the 1950s with a biochemistry institute at the university. of Vienna. As rector of the University of Vienna, head of the FWF Science Fund, the Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) and minister, he helped shape the Austrian science system.

Early political involvement

Born in Vienna on July 22, 1924, Tubby grew up in a middle-class family in Vienna. During the war he was conscripted into labor service, but was soon ineligible for military service due to injury. He began studying chemistry and received his Ph.D. in 1948.

His political career began in 1945, when he saw “liberation,” as he once told the APA. After the end of the Nazi regime and the loss of his father’s life – prosecutor Dollfuß was murdered as a prosecutor in the trial – he was “finally able to do something”.

He was a co-founder of the Chemistry Student Catholic University Community and the “Free Austrian Students’ Union”, which later became the “Union of Austrian Academics”. He was already interested in university politics, but science fascinated him even more.

Experiences abroad

After completing his doctorate, the then 25-year-old went to the University of Cambridge (Great Britain) through the mediation of Austrian-born and later Nobel laureate Max Perutz, where he first came into contact with biochemical problems. . Under Fred Sanger, he was involved in the first elucidation of the amino acid sequence of the protein insulin. For this, Sanger received his first Nobel Prize in 1958.

Hans Tubby


Scientifically, Tubby worked on several topics simultaneously

After further training at the Carlsberg Laboratory in Copenhagen (Denmark), Tubby returned to Austria in 1951 and became an assistant at the Institute of Chemistry II at the University of Vienna. He completed his residency in 1956, became associate professor in 1958 and full professor in 1963 in the newly created chair of biochemistry at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Vienna.

Tubby did not specialize much in education, but instead worked on several topics simultaneously. “Not focusing too much on just one thing” is typical of him.

Rectorate, Science and Ministry

From 1970 to 1972 he was Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Vienna. In 1974 he was elected Chairman of the Fund for the Promotion of Scientific Research (FWF), established in 1967, a position he held until 1982.

In 1983, Tubby was elected rector of the University of Vienna for two years, during which time he chaired the Rectors’ Conference. In 1985 he was elected chairman of the ÖAW, a position he gave up in early 1987 to follow the ÖVP’s invitation to the post of Minister of Science. His tenure marked the development of the Boehringer Ingelheim Institute for Molecular Pathology (IMP) – which began with Tuppi’s outstanding international reputation as a scientist. Two years later (1989) Tubby had to vacate the ministerial chair for Erhard Bucek as part of the ÖVP government reorganization.

Many awards and honors

He returned to everyday university life until his retirement in his 70s. But even after that he continued to give lectures and exams. In 2022, Tubby headed a search committee to select a new ÖAW leader. He once attributed his high level of activity to his “positive attitude”. He was one of those who “considered the cultural distrust of the German-speaking people a disaster.”

    Hans Tubby and his wife Erika during an event at the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) on Monday, September 22, 2014.


Tubby has received many awards and honors

Tubby was honored with several honorary doctorates, the Austrian Decoration for Science and the Arts (1975), the Wilhelm Exner Medal (1978) and the Wittgenstein Prize of the Austrian Research Foundation (2002). The University of Vienna and the ÖAW introduced the “Hans Tubby Lectures” in his honor in 2016. Outstanding scientists who have made groundbreaking contributions to biochemistry or molecular biology will give presentations

With Tubby’s death, Austria loses a distinguished research personality who played a key role in shaping the country’s scientific system for decades.

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