Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 96, Issue 1, pp 5–8 | Cite as

Horst Tobias Witt (March 1, 1922–May 14, 2007)

  • Gernot RengerEmail author
The cornerstone in understanding the functional mechanism of photosynthesis at a molecular level was the development of physical techniques that permit the spectroscopic monitoring of elementary reactions within the complex overall system. The door for achieving this goal was opened in the middle of the last century independently by three pioneers: Louis N.M. Duysens (the Netherlands), Bessel Kok (first of the Netherlands, and then USA), and Horst Tobias Witt (Germany) who were able to identify the individual key players of the game. The other milestone on the road of unravelling the “secrets” of photosynthesis was reached more than three decades later by obtaining information on the structure at atomic resolution of the molecular machinery that drives the light reactions. This achievement by using X-ray diffraction crystallography is connected with the names of Johann Deisenhofer, Robert Huber and Hartmut Michel (Nobel prize in Chemistry, 1987) who disclosed the structure of the...



I thank Govindjee, Historical Corner Editor of Photosynthesis Research, for inviting me to write this tribute and for editing it. I am very grateful to Bernd Rumberg for his invaluable contributions and helpful suggestions. Similarly, I also thank Eberhard Schlodder and Wolfgang Junge for discussions.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für ChemieTechnische Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

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