chemistry

Roy J. Plunkett and the Discovery of Teflon

Roy J. Plunkett and the Discovery of Teflon

On June 26, 1910, American chemist Roy J. Plunkett was born. He is best knwon for his 1938 accidentally discovery of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), better known under the DuPont Co. trademark Teflon. PTFE is used as a non-stick coating for pans and other cookware as well as PTFE has one of the lowest coefficients of friction against any solid. Roy Plunkett was born in New Carlisle, as a poor Ohio farm boy during the…
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Walther Nernst and the third Law of Thermodynamics

Walther Nernst and the third Law of Thermodynamics

On June 25, 1864, German physicist Walther Hermann Nernst was born. One of the founders of modern physical chemistry he is best known for his theories behind the calculation of chemical affinity as embodied in the third law of thermodynamics, for which he won the 1920 Nobel Prize in chemistry. Nernst contributed to electrochemistry, thermodynamics and solid state physics. He is also known for developing the Nernst equation. Nernst was born in…
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Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins and the Discovery of Vitamins

Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins and the Discovery of Vitamins

On June 20, 1861, English biochemist and Nobel Laureate Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins was born. He is best known for the discovery of essential nutrient factors, now known as vitamins, needed in animal diets to maintain health. He also discovered the amino acid tryptophan, in 1901. Frederick Gowland Hopkins was born in 1861 in England. It is believed that in his early years, Hopkins was more interested in literature rather than science. He attended school in London and…
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Richard Smalley – the Father of Nanotechnology

Richard Smalley – the Father of Nanotechnology

On June 6, 1943, American chemist and physicist Richard Errett Smalley was born. He is sometimes also referred to as ‘Father of Nanotechnology’. Richard Smalley shared the 1996 Nobel Prize for Chemistry with Robert Curl, Jr., and Harold W. Kroto for their joint 1985 discovery of carbon60 and the fullerenes. Richard Smalley was born in Akron, Ohio, as the youngest of 4 children of Frank Dudley Smalley, Jr, a successful publisher of…
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Wallace Hume Carothers and the Invention of Nylon

Wallace Hume Carothers and the Invention of Nylon

On April 27, 1896, American chemist and inventor Wallace Hume Carothers was born. He is credited with the invention of nylon, the first synthetic polymer fibre to be spun from a melt. Carothers produced this polyamide, by condensation of adipic acid and hexamethylenediamine working for the DuPont chemical company as head of organic chemistry research. Wallace Carothers was born in Burlington, Iowa, to Ira and Mary Evalina Carothers, as the oldest of…
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Joseph Black and the Discovery of Carbon Dioxide

Joseph Black and the Discovery of Carbon Dioxide

On April 16, 1742, Scottish physician and chemist Joseph Black was born. He is best known for his discoveries of latent heat, specific heat, and carbon dioxide. Joseph Black was sent off to school in Belfast to learn Latin and Greek, and subsequently, aged 16, enrolled at Glasgow University in 1744 to study arts. After y few years however, his father managed to persuade him of choosing a more useful profession and…
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Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus and the White Gold

Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus and the White Gold

On April 10, 1719, German mathematician, physicist, physician, and philosopher Ehrenfried Walter von Tschirnhaus was born. Among others, he is credited being the first European to discover the secret of the creation of porcelain in 1708. Certainly, the Meissen factory, established 1710 with its director Johann Friedrich Böttger, was the first to produce porcelain in Europe in large quantities and since the recipe was kept a trade secret by Böttger for his company, experiments…
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Jeremias Richter and the Law of Definite Proportions

Jeremias Richter and the Law of Definite Proportions

On March 10, 1762, German chemist Jeremias Benjamin Richter was born. He discovered the law of definite proportions and is best known for introducing the term stoichiometry, i.e. the calculation of relative quantities of reactants and products in chemical reactions. Youth and Education Jeremias Benjamin Richter was born at Hirschberg in Silesia, today’s Jelenia Góra in Western Poland. He graduated from the Hirschberg Gymnasium, and in 1778 joined the engineering corps of…
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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. John Mercer grew up in Lancashire, England. He entered the textile industry as a bobbin-winder when he was still a boy. The art of dyeing came to Mercer’s interest approximately at the age of 16. He set up a dye…
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Joseph Priestley and the Discovery of Oxygen

Joseph Priestley and the Discovery of Oxygen

On February 6, 1804, English theologian, Dissenting clergyman, natural philosopher, chemist, educator, and Liberal political theorist Joseph Priestley passed away. Being a rather prolific author with more than 150 works published, he is usually credited with the discovery of oxygen, having isolated it in its gaseous state, although Carl Wilhelm Scheele and Antoine Lavoisier also have a claim to the discovery.[4,6] “It is known to all persons who are conversant in experimental…
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