chemistry

Antoine Lavoisier’s Theory of Combustion

Antoine Lavoisier’s Theory of Combustion

On Nov 1,1772, French chemist Antoine Lavoisier reported in a note to the Secretary of the French Academy of Sciences about the role of “air” in the combustion process. It required five more years of experiments, before in 1777, Lavoisier was ready to propose a new theory of combustion that excluded phlogiston, which according to the prevailing theories of the time was part of every matter and responsible for the combustion process. Modern chemistry…
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Georg Ernst Stahl and the Phlogiston Theory

Georg Ernst Stahl and the Phlogiston Theory

On October 22, 1659, German chemist, physician and philosopher Georg Ernst Stahl was born. Stahl developed the phlogiston theory of combustion and of such related biological processes as respiration, fermentation, and decay. Combustible objects, he said, were rich in phlogiston, and during combustion is lost. The remaining ash, now having no phlogiston, could no longer burn. Until the late 18th century his works on phlogiston were accepted as an explanation for chemical…
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Christian Friedrich Schönbein and the Ozone

Christian Friedrich Schönbein and the Ozone

On October 18, 1799, German-Swiss chemist Christian Friedrich Schönbein was born. Schönbein is best known for inventing the fuel cell (1838) and his discoveries of guncotton (nitrocellulose) and ozone. Christian Friedrich Schönbein was apprenticed at a pharmaceutical factory in Böblingen and was adviced to begin studying at the university. Schönbein enrolled at the University of Erlangen in 1820 were he got to know Justus Liebig Friedrich Schelling, who later helped Schönbein to finance…
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Irène Joliot-Curie and Artificial Radioactivity

Irène Joliot-Curie and Artificial Radioactivity

On September 12, 1897, French Physicist and Nobel Laureate Irène Joliot-Curie was born. She was the daughter of Marie Skłodowska-Curie and Pierre Curie and the wife of Frédéric Joliot-Curie, with whoom she jointly was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1935 for their discovery of artificial radioactivity. Irene Curie was born in Paris and received a decent and classical education before her parents noticed her talents in mathematics and were willing…
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Wilhelm Ostwald and the Foundation of Modern Physical Chemistry

Wilhelm Ostwald and the Foundation of Modern Physical Chemistry

On September 2, 1853, Baltic German chemist and Nobel Laureate Wilhelm Ostwald was born. He is credited with being one of the modern founders of the field of physical chemistry and received the 1909 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on catalysis, chemical equilibria and reaction velocities. „Katalyse ist die Beschleunigung eines langsam verlaufenden chemischen Vorgangs durch die Gegenwart eines fremden Stoffes.“ – Wilhelm Oswald, 1894 Wilhelm Ostwald was born as…
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Carl Bosch, the Synthesis of Ammonia, and the IG Farben

Carl Bosch, the Synthesis of Ammonia, and the IG Farben

On August 27, 1874, German chemist, engineer and Nobel Laureate Carl Bosch was born. He was a pioneer in the field of high-pressure industrial chemistry and founder of IG Farben, at one point the world’s largest chemical company. Carl Bosch was born in Cologne, the first of seven children of Carl Bosch senior (1843-1904), co-owner of the installation company Bosch & Haag in Cologne, and his wife Paula (1851-1930).After graduating from the secondary school…
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Felix Hoffmann and the Synthesis of Aspirin

Felix Hoffmann and the Synthesis of Aspirin

On August 10, 1897, German chemist Felix Hoffmann  synthesized acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) in a stable form usable for medical applications. In 1899 it was marketed for the first time under the trade name Aspirin. Acetylsalicylic acid, the active ingredient of aspirin, was first discovered from the bark of the willow tree in 1763 by Edward Stone of Wadham College, University of Oxford. Felix Hoffmann was born on January 21, 1868 and grew up…
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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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