Glagolitic Murals


Ekonomski fakultet u Osijeku,
Trg Ljudevita Gaja 7, 
31000 Osijek, Hrvatska

Lavoslav Ružička

Lavoslav (Leopold Stjepan) Ružička
Vukovar, 13 September 1887 – Mammern, 26 September 1976

Young people are entitled to be better than their teachers. Thus, the teacher’s skills are primarily concerned with how to implement discipline and work efficiency without obstructing the independent scientific development of the new generation…
Lavoslav Ružička 

Hormones can only make up for partial faults of nature.
Lavoslav Ružička


Lavoslav Ružička was born in Vukovar. He was educated in Osijek, where he attended primary school (1894-1898) and later the Classical Grammar School (1898-1906), after which he chose to study chemistry. His predilection for chemistry was fostered by his teacher at the Classical Grammar School, Krunoslav Babić, who expected that Lavoslav Ružička could get a position at the newly opened sugar refinery in Osijek after completing his studies.

Lavoslav Ružička studied at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. After graduating in 1910, he left for Zürich with his mentor, where he worked as an assistant, joining the ranks of other Nobel Prize laureates who thrived in the city of science and breeding ground of knowledge, i.e. the ETH (Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich) – the centre of European research, the best university in continental Europe and the institution at which Albert Einstein, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, Lavoslav Ružička, Vladimir Prelog, and many other celebrated minds were educated. Lavoslav Ružička made the largest contribution to science by his research on macrocyclic compounds; natural products of plant (odours) and animal (amber ingredients) origin; monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, diterpenes; triterpenes, and higher terpenes and steroids (male hormones). His papers on sex hormones and steroids further strengthened his scientific reputation and in 1939 he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on polymethylene and higher terpene compounds.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Zürich on 6 January 1940 by the Swedish Ambassador to Switzerland, Hans Gustaf Beck Friis. His Nobel Prize is now kept at the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts. After a large number of colleagues left during the war, Lavoslav Ružička brought young scientists to his laboratory, among others, Vladimir Prelog, whose mentor he soon became. Their long-term cooperation peaked in 1975, when Prelog was awarded the Nobel Prize. This was one year before Lavoslav Ružička’s death. Ružička was awarded eight honorary doctorates, 13 medals and prizes and 18 honorary memberships in academies of science including the Pontifical Academy. In addition to his penchant for chemistry, Lavoslav Ružička developed a liking for cycling, skiing, and photography, as well as alpine flower growing and collecting Dutch paintings. Especially worthy contributions are his care for young scientists and his dedication to grooming the new generation of scientists. He died in the Swiss town of Mammern on 26 September 1976 and was buried in Zürich.