chemistry

John Jacob Abel and the Endocrine Glands

John Jacob Abel and the Endocrine Glands

On May 19, 1857, American biochemist and pharmacologist John Jacob Abel was born. Abel made important contributions to a modern understanding of the ductless, or endocrine, glands. He extracted a derivative of epinephrine, also known as adrenaline and successfully purified and isolated crystalline insulin. His interest in kidney functions led to his invention of a primitive artificial kidney that was able to remove toxins from the blood of living animals,…
William Francis Giauque and the Absolute Zero

William Francis Giauque and the Absolute Zero

On May 12, 1895, American chemist and Nobel laureate William Francis Giauque was born. Giauque received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1949 for his “achievements in the field of chemical thermodynamics and especially his work on the behavior of matter at very low temperatures and his closely allied studies of entropy.” William Francis Giauque attended the Niagara Falls Collegiate Institute and after graduating he decided to pursue a career…
Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran and the Improvement of Spectroscopy

Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran and the Improvement of Spectroscopy

On April 18, 1838, French chemist Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran was born. Lecoq de Boisbaudran improved spectroscopic methods which had recently been developed by Paul Kirchhoff. Furthermore he is known for his discoveries of the chemical elements gallium, samarium and dysprosium. Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran belonged to the ancient Protestant nobility of Poitou and Angoumois, whose considerable fortune, however, disappeared after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Since the property…
Melvin Calvin and the Calvin Cycle

Melvin Calvin and the Calvin Cycle

On April 8, 1911, American biochemist Melvin Calvin was born. Calvin is best known for furthering our knowledge of the mechanism of photosynthesis with the discovery the Calvin cycle along with Andrew Benson and James Bassham, for which he was awarded the 1961 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Calvin was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, the son of Elias Calvin and Rose Herwitz, immigrants from Russia. Originally, his father was from…
Peter Debye – Physical Chemist

Peter Debye – Physical Chemist

On March 24, 1884, Dutch-American physicist and physical chemist Peter Joseph William Debye was born. Debye’s investigations of dipole moments, X rays, and light scattering in gases brought him the 1936 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Most of his work was in chemical-physics with special interest in electrolytes and dipolar momentum analysis. He established a theory of specific heat with some improvements on that proposed by Einstein. Peter Debye attended the…
Hermann Staudinger and the Macromolecules

Hermann Staudinger and the Macromolecules

On March 23, 1881, German organic chemist Hermann Staudinger was born. Staudinger demonstrated the existence of macromolecules, which he characterized as polymers. For this work he received the 1953 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He is also known for his discovery of ketenes and of the Staudinger reaction. Hermann Staudinger was born in Worms, Germany, the son of neo-Kantian philosopher Franz Staudinger. Staudinger studied at the Gymnasium in Worms. Then, after…
Frederick William Twort and the Bacteriophages

Frederick William Twort and the Bacteriophages

On March 20, 1955, English bacteriologist Frederick William Twort passed away. Twort was the original discoverer in 1915 of bacteriophages, i.e. viruses that infect bacteria. He researched into Johne’s disease, a chronic intestinal infection of cattle, and also discovered that vitamin K is needed by growing leprosy bacteria. Frederick William Twort initially only received a limited education, but managed to go to London in order to study medicine  at the local St Thomas’s…
Edward C. Kendall and the Adrenal Cortex Hormones

Edward C. Kendall and the Adrenal Cortex Hormones

On March 8, 1886, American chemist and Nobel laureate Edward Calvin Kendall was born. Kendall shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1950 with Philip S. Hench and Tadeus Reichstein for research on the structure and biological effects of adrenal cortex hormones. Kendall did not only focus on the adrenal glands, he was also responsible for the isolation of thyroxine, a hormone of the thyroid gland and worked…
Stanley Miller and the origins of Life

Stanley Miller and the origins of Life

On March 7, 1930, American chemist Stanley Lloyd Miller was born. Miller made landmark experiments in the origin of life by demonstrating that a wide range of vital organic compounds can be synthesized by fairly simple chemical processes from inorganic substances. In 1952 he carried out the Miller–Urey experiment, which showed that complex organic molecules could be synthesised from inorganic precursors. The experiment was widely reported, and provided support for…
Herbert Henry Dow – Chemist and Industrialist

Herbert Henry Dow – Chemist and Industrialist

On February 26, 1866, American chemical industrialist Herbert Henry Dow was born. Dow best known as the founder of the American multinational conglomerate Dow Chemical. He also was a prolific inventor of chemical processes, compounds, and products, and was a successful businessman. Herbert Henry Dow was born in Belleville, Ontario, Canada, the eldest child of Americans Joseph Henry Dow, an inventor and mechanical engineer, and his wife, Sarah Bunnell. Soon…
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