chemistry

Justus von Liebig and the Agricultural Revolution

Justus von Liebig and the Agricultural Revolution

On May 12, 1803, German chemist Justus Freiherr von Liebig was born, who made major contributions to agricultural and biological chemistry. He is probably best known as the “father of the fertilizer industry” for his discovery of nitrogen as an essential plant nutrient. The acquisition of a new truth is like the acquisition of a new sense, which renders a man capable and recognizing a large number of phenomena that are hidden…
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Mary the Jewess and the Origins of Chemistry

Mary the Jewess and the Origins of Chemistry

Mary the Jewess (also known as Maria Prophetissima or Miriam the Prophetess) is a figure who first appeared in the works of the Gnostic Christian writer Zosimos of Panopolis, whose sources for this are not clear. On the basis of Zosimos’s comments, she lived between the first and third centuries A.D. She is credited with the invention of several kinds of chemical apparatus and is considered to be the first true alchemist of the…
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John Mercer and the Cotton Mercerisation

John Mercer and the Cotton Mercerisation

On February 21, 1791, English dye and fabric chemist John Mercer was born. He invented the mercerisation process for treating cotton which is still in use today and was a pioneer in colour photography. Background John Mercer John Mercer grew up in Lancashire, England. He entered the textile industry as a bobbin-winder when he was still a boy. His father died in 1802, and the family were left very poor. John moved about…
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Dimitri Mendeleev and the Periodic Table of Elements

Dimitri Mendeleev and the Periodic Table of Elements

On February 2, 1907, Russian chemist and inventor Dimitri Ivanovich Mendeleev passed away. He is probably best known for his version of the periodic table of chemical elements. Furthermore, he used it to correct the properties of some already discovered elements and also to predict the properties of eight elements yet to be discovered. “I wish to establish some sort of system not guided by chance but by some sort of definite…
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Carl Wilhelm Scheele and the Discovery of Oxygen

Carl Wilhelm Scheele and the Discovery of Oxygen

On December 19, 1742 (Gregorian Calendar), Swedish Pomeranian pharmaceutical chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele was born. Scheele is best known for his discovery of oxygen and other chemical elements. Early Years Carl Wilhelm Scheele was born in Stralsund, which was back then under the control of Sweden, but belongs to Germany on this day. During his childhood, friends of the family taught him reading prescriptions and equipped him with further chemical knowledge. At the…
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Humphry Davy and the Wonders of Electrolysis

Humphry Davy and the Wonders of Electrolysis

On November 19, 1807, British chemist and inventor Humphry Davy reported to the Royal Society about the isolation of potassium and sodium from different salts by electrolysis. Davy was one of the pioneers in the field of electrolysis using the newly invented voltaic pile to split up common compounds and thus prepare many new elements.[6] “Nothing is so fatal to the progress of the human mind as to suppose that our views…
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Maria Skłodowska Curie – Truly an Extraordinary Woman

Maria Skłodowska Curie – Truly an Extraordinary Woman

On November 7, 1867, Marie Curie was born, French-Polish physicist, chemist, pioneer in research of radioactivity.  She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, is the only woman to win the Nobel prize twice, and is the only person to win the Nobel Prize in two different scientific fields. “One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.” — Marie Curie, Letter to her…
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A Life of Discoveries –  the great Michael Faraday

A Life of Discoveries – the great Michael Faraday

On September 22, 1791, the famous chemist and physicist Michael Faraday  was born. He is responsible for the discovery of the electromagnetic induction, the laws of electrolysis and best known for his inventions, which laid the foundations to the electrical industry. But, to understand the person and the scientist Michael Faraday, we have to look a little bit into his background and his development. I was at first almost frightened when I…
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Madame Marie Lafarge – The first “Victim” of the Marsh Test

Madame Marie Lafarge – The first “Victim” of the Marsh Test

On September 19, 1840, Marie-Fortunée Fafarge was convicted of murdering her husband by arsenic poisoning. Her case has become notable because she was the first person convicted largely on direct forensic toxicological evidence. Marie Lafarge Marie Lafarge grew up with her maternal aunt and was sent to only the best schools throughout her youth. Wealth has always been an important issue of her life. Coming from a rather poor family, she mainly…
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Carl Djerassi and the Oral Contraceptive Pill

Carl Djerassi and the Oral Contraceptive Pill

On 18 August, Enovid was launched as the first contraceptive pill in the United States. It was developed by Austrian-born Bulgarian-American chemist, novelist, and playwright Carl Djerassi. Furthermore, he is noted for establishing physical methods for determining organic molecular structure and his contributions to synthetic organic chemistry, his effectiveness in translating scientific knowledge into technological practice, and his efforts to promote international scientific cooperation. Youth in Austria and Emigration to the USA Carl Djerassi…
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