June 12, 1899–July 24, 1986
BY WILLIAM P. JENCKS AND RICHARD V. WOLFENDEN
FRITZ LIPMANN WAS LARGELY responsible for identifying and characterizing the connection between metabolism and the energetics of living systems that makes life possible.
Lipmann was born at the end of the nineteenth century, on 12 June 1899, in Königsberg, which was then the capital of East Prussia. Königsberg was close to the Russian border, and the German government provided more support to the university than might have been expected for a city of its size. Königsberg later became part of the USSR and was renamed Kaliningrad. It was one of the Hanseatic cities and contained a harbour that was connected by a sound to the Baltic Sea. The Lipmann family regularly spent the summer there, close to the seashore. The taxis were droschkes, horse-drawn carriages. Lipmann remembered a visit of the Kaiser, who was driven through the town in a carriage with four horses and a coachman with a plumed helmet.
This memoir originally appeared in Biographical Memoirs of the Royal Society 46(2000):335-344 and is reprinted with permission.