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Frederick Gowland Hopkins
File:Frederick Gowland Hopkins.jpg
Born 20 June 1861(1861-06-20)
Eastbourne, Sussex, England
Died 16 May 1947 (aged 85)
Cambridge, England
Nationality United Kingdom
Fields Biochemistry
Institutions University of Cambridge
Doctoral advisor Thomas Stevenson
Doctoral students J.B.S. Haldane
Judah Hirsch Quastel
Malcolm Dixon
Known for vitamins, tryptophan
Notable awards Nobel Prize (1929)

Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins OM FRS (20 June 1861 Eastbourne, Sussex - 16 May 1947 Cambridge) was an English biochemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1929, with Christiaan Eijkman, for the discovery of vitamins. He also discovered the amino acid tryptophan, in 1901. He was President of the Royal Society from 1930-1935.



Hopkins was educated at the City of London School completing his further study with the University of London External Programme and the medical school at Guy's Hospital (Now part of King's College London School of Medicine).[1] He then taught physiology and toxicology at Guy's Hospital from 1894 to 1898. He was Reader in Chemical Physiology at Cambridge University from 1902 to 1914 and became Professor of Biochemistry at Cambridge in 1914.[2] His Cambridge students included neurochemistry pioneer Judah Hirsch Quastel.

He was awarded the 1929 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (together with Christiaan Eijkman) for his discovery that certain trace substances—now known as vitamins -- are essential for the maintenance of good health. He also discovered that muscle contraction can lead to the accumulation of lactic acid.

Hopkins was knighted in 1925. He is the father of the archaeologist Jacquetta Hawkes (and hence the father-in-law of the writer J. B. Priestley) and also the cousin of Gerald Manley Hopkins. Although he had no formal doctoral advisor, his equivalent mentor was Thomas Stevenson.


  • 30 June 1861: Born in Eastbourne, Sussex, England.
  • 1890: Gains B.Sc. degree from University of London.
  • 1894: Medical degree from Guy's Hospital, London. (Now King's College London)
  • 1898: Married to Jessie Anne Stevens.
  • 1898-1910: Lecturer in Chemical Physiology, Cambridge University.
  • 1905: Elected Fellow of the Royal Society (Britain's most prestigious scientific organization).
  • 1910: Appointed Fellow and Praelector in Biochemistry, Trinity College, Cambridge.
  • 1912: Publishes "Feeding Experiments Illustrating the Importance of Accessory Food Factors in Normal Dietaries", demonstrating the need for vitamins in diet.
  • 1914-1943: First ever Professor of Biochemistry at Cambridge University.
  • 1924 Sir William Dunn Institute of Biochemistry opens.
  • 1918: Awarded Royal Medal of the Royal Society.
  • 1925: Knighted by King George V.
  • 1926: Awarded Copley Medal of the Royal Society.
  • 1929: Wins Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology.
  • 1930-1935: President of the Royal Society.
  • 1933: President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.
  • 1935: Awarded the Order of Merit (Britain's most exclusive civilian honor).
  • 16 May 1947: Dies in Cambridge, England.



  1. ^ Joseph Needham, "Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins, O.M., F.R.S. (1861-1947)," Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London, Vol. 17, No. 2. (December 1962), pp. 117-162[1]
  2. ^ Hopkins, Frederick Gowland in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.

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