chemistry

Emil Erlenmeyer and the Erlenmeyer Flask

Emil Erlenmeyer and the Erlenmeyer Flask

On June 28, 1825, German chemist Emil Erlenmeyer was born. Erlenmeyer is known for contributing to the early development of the theory of structure, formulating the Erlenmeyer rule, and especially for designing the Erlenmeyer flask, a type of chemical flask, which is named after him. Actually, I remember the Erlenmeyer flask from my earliest chemistry lessons back in high school. So, who was the man behind that prominent gadget? Emil Erlenmeyer –…
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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 William Francis Giauque attended the Niagara Falls Collegiate Institute and after graduating he decided to pursue a…
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Peter Debye – Dipole Moments, X Rays, and Light Scattering

Peter Debye – Dipole Moments, X Rays, and Light Scattering

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.[5] “If a problem is clearly stated,…
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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. Early Years Frederick William Twort was born in Camberley, Surrey, the eldest of the eleven children of Dr. William Henry Twort. He initially only received a limited…
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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 with the…
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Stanley Miller’s Landmark Experiment on the Origin of Life

Stanley Miller’s Landmark Experiment on the Origin 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 synthesized from inorganic precursors. The experiment was widely reported, and provided support for the idea…
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Hans von Euler-Chelpin and the Alcoholic Fermentation of Sugar

Hans von Euler-Chelpin and the Alcoholic Fermentation of Sugar

On February 15, 1873, German-born Swedish biochemist Hans von Euler-Chelpin was born. Hans von Euler-Chelpin shared the 1929 Nobel Prize for Chemistry with Sir Arthur Harden for work on the role of enzymes in the alcoholic fermentation of sugar. Youth and Education Hans von Euler-Chelpin was the son of the later Bavarian Major General Rigas von Euler-Chelpin (1837-1923)and his wife Gabriele Furtner († 1931). He spent most of his childhood with his grandmother in…
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Victor Moritz Goldschmidt and the Origins of Geochemistry

Victor Moritz Goldschmidt and the Origins of Geochemistry

On January 27, 1888, Swiss-Norwegian geochemist, mineralogist and petrologist Victor Moritz Goldschmidt was born. Goldschmidt is considered (together with Vladimir Vernadsky) to be the founder of modern geochemistry and crystal chemistry, as well as the developer of the Goldschmidt Classification of elements. “Every beginning is hard. At most stopping is sometimes even harder.” – Victor Moritz Goldschmidt, as quoted in [9] Victor Moritz Goldschmidt’s Early Years Goldschmidt was born in Zürich, Switzerland,…
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Alexandre-Émile Béguyer de Chancourtois and the Order of the Chemical Elements

Alexandre-Émile Béguyer de Chancourtois and the Order of the Chemical Elements

On January 20, 1820, French geologist and mineralogist  Alexandre-Émile Béguyer de Chancourtois was born. De Chancourtois was the first to arrange the chemical elements in order of atomic weights in 1862. De Chancourtois only published his paper, but did not publish his actual graph with the irregular arrangement. Although his publication was significant, it was ignored by chemists as it was written in terms of geology. It was Dmitri Mendeleev’s table published in 1869…
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Paul Müller and the Doubtful Qualities of DDT

Paul Müller and the Doubtful Qualities of DDT

On January 12, 1899, Swiss chemist and Nobel Laureate Paul Hermann Müller was born. Müller received the 1948 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his 1939 discovery of insecticidal qualities and use of DDT in the control of vector diseases such as malaria and yellow fever. “We have discovered many preventives against tropical diseases, and often against the onslaught of insects of all kinds, from lice to mosquitoes and back again. The excellent…
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