Ralph Franz Hirschmann (May 6, 1922 – June 20, 2009) was a German American chemist who led a team that was responsible for the first organic synthesis of an enzyme, a ribonuclease.
Early life and education
Born on May 6, 1922, in Fürth, he emigrated from Nazi Germany in 1936 and settled with his family in Kansas City, Missouri. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1944. After graduating from Oberlin College in 1943, he served in the United States Army for three years in the Pacific Theater of Operations. Following the completion of his military service, Hirschmann attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison, receiving his Doctor of Philosophy in organic chemistry in 1950.
Medicinal Chemistry career
While at Merck & Co., where he was hired as a researcher in 1950, he led a team that developed a method to synthesize the enzyme ribonuclease. His team was successful, with their results announced in January 1