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Karl Landsteiner


The 1930 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Born: June 14, 1868, Vienna, Austrian Empire (now Austria)

Died: June 26, 1943 in New York, NY, USA

Affiliation at the time of award: Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, New York, NY, USA

Award motivation: "For his discovery of human blood groups."

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Karl Landsteiner


If a person loses a lot of blood from an accident or illness, it needs to be replaced. However, when person-to-person transfusions were attempted, the results were very often disastrous. Karl Landsteiner discovered why: When the blood of different people was mixed, the blood cells sometimes coagulated. He explained in 1901 that people have different types of blood cells, that is, there are different blood types. The discovery led to blood transfusions between people with compatible blood types.