Hannes Richter

Awards and Honors

Hannes Richter

The Father of the Anti-Baby Pill


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Carl Djerassi

Professor Carl Djerassi, world-renowned scientist, once again became an Austrian citizen, together with his wife, Prof. Diane Middlebrook. The son of Jewish physicians, Carl Djerassi grew up in Vienna and fled the Nazis in 1938. A few years later, he graduated with highest honors from Kenyon College in Ohio. His first job was as a junior chemist with the Swiss pharmaceutical company, Ciba. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin and went to work at a lab in Mexico City. There he was involved in the creation of a progesterone for treating menstrual disorders and infertility. It turned out to be a useful contraceptive, and in 1951 Djerassi directed the synthesis of the first oral contraceptive for women and became known throughout the world as the "father of the birth control pill."


It wasn't until 1960 that it was approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). For this achievement he received the National Medal of Science, the first Wolf Prize in Chemistry and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.


In regards to Austria, Carl Djerassi admitted having an "ambivalent relationship." Not until the beginning of the 1990s did he begin to travel back to Austria. Since then, he has been repeatedly asked to give lectures and attend events. With this came numerous Austrian awards. In 2002, he applied for Austrian citizenship. On January 12, 2004 he and his wife were presented the document of citizenship by the Austrian Consul General, Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, in Los Angeles.

Highest Honor for Anthropologist


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Dean Falk with skull

On January 14, 2004 Dean Falk, Professor for Anthropology at the Florida State University in Tallahassee, received one of the highest and rarest decorations by the Austrian government in honor of individual achievement: the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, 1st class. Since 1992, Dr. Falk has been closely affiliated with a research team at the University of Vienna under the direction of the internationally-recognized biological anthropologist, Professor Horst Seidler, who has brought his teamt o the forefront of Paleoanthropology.

With the cooperative assistance of Dr. Dean, the Institute of Anthropology at the University of Vienna established a special working group dealing primarily with evolution anatomy with emphasis on the evolution of the brain. There were numerous joint publications in scientific journals as well as high-ranking international workshops and two large projects - the mummies in Peru and an excavation in Ethiopia. With the generous efforts of Professor Falk, the Institute of Anthropology branched out into a new field of research, ‘Virtual Anthropology,' which in the meantime has won international recognition and acclaim. As summed up during the presentation of the award by the Austrian Ambassador to the U.S., Eva Nowotny: "This is an example of international scientific cooperation at its best."