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, the precursor…
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Thomas Midgley Jr. and the Development of Leaded Fuel

Thomas Midgley Jr. and the Development of Leaded Fuel

On May 18, 1889, American mechanical engineer and chemist Thomas Midgley Jr. was born. Midgley was a key figure in a team of chemists, led by Charles F. Kettering, that developed the tetraethyllead (TEL) additive to gasoline as well as some of the first chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Over the course of his career, Midgley was granted over a hundred patents. Thomas Midgley and the Problem of Knocking Thomas Midgley Jr. was born in…
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Harold Urey and the famous Miller–Urey experiment

Harold Urey and the famous Miller–Urey experiment

On April 29, 1893, American physical chemist and Nobel Laureate Harold C. Urey was born. He played a significant role in the development of the atom bomb, but may be most prominent for his contribution to theories on the development of organic life from non-living matter. Harold Urey – Early Years Harold Clayton Urey entered the University of Montana in 1914 and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology in 1917. A few…
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Franz Achard and the Sugar Beet Revolution

Franz Achard and the Sugar Beet Revolution

On April 28, 1753, German (Prussian) chemist, physicist and biologist Franz Carl Achard was born. Achard‘s principal discovery was the production of sugar from sugar beets. In 1802, Achard opened the world’s first sugar producing industry plant in Prussia. Just imagine, the world harvested 250,191,362 metric tons of sugar beets in 2013, with Russia being the world’s largest producer. And only about 20% of the world‘s sugar production comes out of sugar…
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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 – Early Years 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…
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Ernest Solvay and his Love for Physics

Ernest Solvay and his Love for Physics

On April 16, 1838, Belgian chemist, industrialist and philanthropist Ernest Gaston Joseph Solvay was born. Solvay invented the Solvay Process (1863), a commercially viable ammonia-soda process for producing soda ash (sodium carbonate), widely used in the manufacture of such products as glass and soap. In 1911, he began a series of important conferences in physics, known as the Solvay Conferences, whose participants included luminaries such as Max Planck, Ernest Rutherford, Maria Skłodowska-Curie, Henri…
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Melvin Calvin and the Calvin Cycle in Photosynthesis

Melvin Calvin and the Calvin Cycle in Photosynthesis

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. Youth and Education Calvin was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, the son of Elias Calvin and Rose Herwitz, immigrants from Russia. Originally, his father was…
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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. “The most fundamental difference between compounds of low molecular weight and macromolecular compounds resides in the fact that the latter may exhibit properties that cannot…
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Harry Coover and the Invention of Super Glue

Harry Coover and the Invention of Super Glue

On March 6, 1917, American chemist and inventor Harry Wesley Coover Jr was born. He is best known for having invented Eastman 910, better known as super glue. Super Glue is based on cyanoacrylates, a family of strong fast-acting adhesives with industrial, medical, and household uses. Harry Coover’s Career with Eastman Kodak Harry Coover was born in Newark, Delaware, and attended Hobart College, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree. For his later…
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James Sadler – the First English Aeronaut

James Sadler – the First English Aeronaut

On February 27, 1753, English chemist, pastry chef, and aviation pioneer James Sadler was born. He is best known for being the first English aeronaut, whose first successful ascent was on 4 Oct 1784, in a hot-air balloon, from Christ Church Meadow, Oxford. England’s first Balloonists Sadler worked as a pastry chef in the family business, The Lemon Hall Refreshment House, a small shop in Oxford. He was the second known person in…
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