Recently, we figured out that Albert Michelson was the first Jewish American Nobel laureate. But who was the first Jewish Nobel laureate, regardless of country?
Here, the answer is not exactly straightforward, and depends on your definition of "Jewish". (You'd think that after 1600 profiles, we'd get that down pat, and yet...) The contenders are: Adolf von Baeyer of Germany, 1905 laureate in Chemistry, and Henri Moissan of France, who won the same award a year later.
Von Bayer, who got the Nobel for his work in organic chemistry, was clearly of Jewish heritage. Our dilemma comes from the fact that his Jewish mother converted to Christianity prior to his birth. Moissan, who claimed the honors for his isolation of fluorine (think of him while you're brushing your teeth), had no such qualms. He was a Jew through and through.
So, who gets the spoils? Is it for us to say?
But then again, we can only select one to headline this profile...