chemistry

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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Dimitri Mendeleev and the Periodic Table of Elements

Dimitri Mendeleev and the Periodic Table of Elements

On February 2, 1907, Russian chemist and inventor Dimitri Ivanovich Mendeleev passed away. He is probably best known for his version of the periodic table of chemical elements. Furthermore, he used it to correct the properties of some already discovered elements and also to predict the properties of eight elements yet to be discovered. “I wish to establish some sort of system not guided by chance but by some sort of definite…
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Maria Telkes and the Power of the Sun

Maria Telkes and the Power of the Sun

On December 12, 1900, Hungarian–American scientist and inventor Mária Telkes was born. She is best known for her work in solar energy technology. Mária Telkes finished her dissertation in the field of physical chemistry in 1924 at the University o Budapest and moved to the united States shortly after. About one year later, Telkes accepted a position as a biophysicist for the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, where she researched on creating a photoelectric…
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Nicolas Leblanc and the Leblanc Process

Nicolas Leblanc and the Leblanc Process

On December 6, 1742, French chemist and surgeon Nicolas Leblanc was born, who discovered how to manufacture soda from common salt. The eponymous Leblanc process became one of the most important industrial processes of the 19th century. Due to his early death of his father, Nicolas Leblanc grew up with Dr. Bien, who was a close friend to the family and inspired the young boy to increase his interest in medicine. He…
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Ellen Swallow Richards and Home Economics

Ellen Swallow Richards and Home Economics

On December 3, 1842, American chemist Ellen Henrietta Swallow Richards was born. She was the foremost female industrial and environmental chemist in the United States during the 19th century. Her pioneering work in sanitary engineering and experimental research in domestic science widened professional opportunities for women in the sciences and laid a foundation for the new science of home economics. Richard was educated at home, since both of her parents were trained…
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Leo Baekeland and the Beginning of the Plastic Age

Leo Baekeland and the Beginning of the Plastic Age

Bakelite Billiard Balls Image: Chemical Heritage Foundation at Flickr On November 14, 1863, Belgian-born American chemist Leo Henricus Arthur Baekeland was born. His invention of Bakelite, an inexpensive, nonflammable, versatile, and popular plastic, marked the beginning of the modern plastics industry. Leo Baekeland completed his doctorate at the University of Ghent and taught for a few years. He continued his studies of chemistry in New York City, England, Scotland, and Germany. He was then…
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Daniel Rutherford and the isolation of Nitrogen

Daniel Rutherford and the isolation of Nitrogen

Daniel Rutherford (1749-1819) On November 3, 1749, Scottish physician, chemist and botanist Daniel Rutherford was born. Rutherford was the uncle of famous novelist Sir Walter Scott. But originally, he is most famous for the isolation of nitrogen in 1772. The second son of Professor John Rutherford and his second wife Anne Mackay, Daniel Rutherford was born in Edinburgh on 3 November 1749. Educated at first at home, he was sent, when seven…
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Adolf von Baeyer and the Color Blue

Adolf von Baeyer and the Color Blue

Adolf von Baeyer (1835 – 1917) On October 31, 1835, German chemist and Nobel Laureate Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Adolf von Baeyer was born. He was the first who succeeded with the synthesis of indigo (1880) and formulated its structure (1883), for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1905. Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Adolf von Baeyer was interested in chemical experiments from early age. His father was a lieutenant-general and originated…
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Ascanio Sobrero and the Power of Nitroglycerine

Ascanio Sobrero and the Power of Nitroglycerine

Ascanio Sobrero (1812–1888) On October 12, 1812, Italian chemist Ascanio Sobrero was born. During his experimental research he discovered the explosive compound nitroglycerine. Sobrero was horrified by the destructive potential of his discovery, and made no effort to develop that power himself. Possibly, the only name that pops up in your mind when you think of the explosive nitroglycerine is Alfred Nobel, the guy who also funded the eponymous prices for advancement in…
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