chemistry

Robert Mulliken and the Molecular Orbitals

Robert Mulliken and the Molecular Orbitals

Historical picture of Arthur Compton, Werner Heisenberg, Monk, Paul Dirac, Eckardt, Gale, Robert Mulliken, Friedrich Hund and Hoyt; Image by Wikimedia User GFHund On June 7, 1896, American physicist, chemist, and Nobel Laureate Robert Sonderson Mulliken was born. He is primarily responsible for the early development of molecular orbital theory, i.e. the elaboration of the molecular orbital method of computing the structure of molecules. Robert Mulliken truly followed in his…
Mary the Jewess and the Origins of Chemistry

Mary the Jewess and the Origins of Chemistry

Mary the Prophetess (ca. 1st to 3rd century AD) Mary the Jewess (also known as Maria Prophetissima or Miriam the Prophetess) is a figure who first appeared in the works of the Gnostic Christian writer Zosimos of Panopolis, whose sources for this are not clear. On the basis of Zosimos’s comments, she lived between the first and third centuries A.D. She is credited with the invention of several kinds of chemical apparatus…
Friedrich Accum and the Popularization of Chemistry

Friedrich Accum and the Popularization of Chemistry

Friedrich Christian Accum (1769-1838) On March 29, 1769, German chemist Friedrich Christian Accum was born. Accum’s most important achievements included advances in the field of gas lighting, efforts to keep processed foods free from dangerous additives, and the promotion of interest in the science of chemistry to the general populace. Accum was born in Bückeburg, Schaumburg-Lippe (near Hannover), where his father was in the service of Count Wilhelm von Schaumburg-Lippe.…
Irving Langmuir and his scientific achievements

Irving Langmuir and his scientific achievements

Langmuir (center) in 1922 in his lab, showing radio pioneerGuglielmo Marconi a new 20 kW triode tube On January 31, 1881, American chemist and physicist Irving Langmuir was born. Langmuir advanced several basic fields of physics and chemistry, invented the gas-filled incandescent lamp, the hydrogen welding technique, and was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in surface chemistry. Irving Langmuir was highly influenced by his older…
Carl Wilhelm Scheele and the Discovery of Oxygen

Carl Wilhelm Scheele and the Discovery of Oxygen

Plate from Carl Wilhelm Scheele’s “Chemical Observations and Experiments on Air and Fire“ On December 19, 1742 (Gregorian Calendar), Swedish Pomeranian pharmaceutical chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele was born. Scheele is best known for his discovery of oxygen and other chemical elements. Carl Wilhelm Scheele was born in Stralsund, which was back then under the control of Sweden, but belongs to Germany on this day. During his childhood, friends of the…
Madame Lafarge – The first “Victim” of the Marsh Test

Madame Lafarge – The first “Victim” of the Marsh Test

Marie Lafarge(1816 – 1852) On September 19, 1840, Marie-Fortunée Lafarge was convicted of murdering her husband by arsenic poisoning. Her case has become notable because she was the first person convicted largely on direct forensic toxicological evidence. Marie Lafarge grew up with her maternal aunt and was sent to only the best schools throughout her youth. Wealth has always been an important issue of her life. Coming from a rather…
John Dee and his World of Science and Magic

John Dee and his World of Science and Magic

John Dee (ca. 1527 – 1608) On July 13, 1527, Welsh mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occultist, navigator, imperialist and consultant to Queen Elizabeth I, John Dee was born. He is considered one of the most learned men of his age. Besides being an ardent promoter of mathematics and a respected astronomer, in his later years he immersed himself in the worlds of magic, astrology and Hermetic philosophy. One of his aims…
Justus von Liebig and the Agricultural Revolution

Justus von Liebig and the Agricultural Revolution

Justus Liebig (1803 – 1873) On May 12, 1803, German chemist Justus Freiherr von Liebig was born, who made major contributions to agricultural and biological chemistry. He is probably best known as the “father of the fertilizer industry” for his discovery of nitrogen as an essential plant nutrient. Justus Liebig’s father was also a chemist and he began his experiments with his father’s equipment in very early childhood years. Even…
Happy Bicycle Day

Happy Bicycle Day

LSD blotters with Bicycle Day image by YttriumOx On April 19, 1943, Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann in the Sandoz (now Novartis) laboratories in Basel, Switzerland performed a self-experiment to determine the true effects of LSD, intentionally ingesting 0.25 milligrams (250 micrograms) of the substance, an amount he predicted to be a threshold dose (an actual threshold dose is 20 micrograms). While riding home on his bicycle, he experienced the very…
Humphry Davy and the Electrolysis

Humphry Davy and the Electrolysis

Sir Humphry Davy (1778 – 1829)Painting by Thomas Phillips On November 19, 1807, British chemist and inventor Humphry Davy reported to the Royal Society about the isolation of potassium and sodium from different salts by electrolysis. Davy was one of the pioneers in the field of electrolysis using the newly invented voltaic pile to split up common compounds and thus prepare many new elements. Humphry Davy was born in 1778…
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