chemistry

Nathaniel Wyeth and the PET Bottle

Nathaniel Wyeth and the PET Bottle

On October 24, 1911, American mechanical engineer and inventor Nathaniel C. Wyeth was born. Wyeth is best known for creating polyethylene terephthalate that could withstand the pressure of carbonated liquids. Made of recyclable PET plastic, lighter than glass and virtually unbreakable, Wyeth’s invention is used widely today for both carbonated and non-carbonated drinks. Nathaniel Wyeth was the brother of the painters Andrew Wyeth and Henriette Wyeth Hurd as well as the son…
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Harold Kroto and the Discovery of Fullerenes

Harold Kroto and the Discovery of Fullerenes

On October 7, 1939, English chemist and Nobel Laureate Sir Harold Walter Kroto was born. Kroto shared the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Robert Curl and Richard Smalley [6] for their discovery of fullerenes, i.e. molecules of carbon in the form of a hollow sphere, ellipsoid, tube, and many other shapes, which have been the subject of intense research, both for their unique chemistry and for their technological applications, especially in…
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Amedeo Avogadro – Relating Volumes to Quantities and Avogadro’s Law

Amedeo Avogadro – Relating Volumes to Quantities and Avogadro’s Law

On August 9, 1776, Italian scientist Lorenzo Romano Amedeo Carlo Avogadro, Conte di Quaregna e Cerreto was born. He is most noted for his contribution to molecular theory now known as Avogadro’s law, which states that equal volumes of gases under the same conditions of temperature and pressure will contain equal numbers of molecules. In tribute to him, the number of elementary entities (atoms, molecules, ions or other particles) in 1 mole…
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Benjamin Silliman and the 1807 Meteor

Benjamin Silliman and the 1807 Meteor

On August 8, 1779, early American chemist and science educator Benjamin Silliman was born. He was one of the first American professors of science, at Yale College, the first person to distill petroleum in America, and a founder of the American Journal of Science, the oldest continuously published scientific journal in the United States. Silliman best known for researching the chemical composition of a meteorite that fell in 1807, his report being…
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Stephen Mouton Babcock and the Babcock Test

Stephen Mouton Babcock and the Babcock Test

On July 2, 1931, American agricultural chemist Stephen Moulton Babcock passed away. He is best known for his Babcock test in determining dairy butterfat in milk processing, for cheese processing, and for the “single-grain experiment” that led to the development of nutritional science as a recognized discipline. He worked for 43 years at the University of Wisconsin, where he established a laboratory where he carried out pioneering research in nutrition and in…
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Jean-Antoine Chaptal and the Industrial Chemistry

Jean-Antoine Chaptal and the Industrial Chemistry

On June 5, 1756, French chemist, physician, agronomist, industrialist, statesman, educator and philanthropist Jean-Antoine Chaptal, comte de Chanteloup was born. Chaptal authored the first book on industrial chemistry and also coined the name nitrogen. He was the first to produce sulphuric acid commercially in France at his factory at Montpellier and helped to organize the introduction of the metric system. Jean-Antoine Chaptal – Early Years Jean-Antoine Chaptal was born in Nojaret (Lozère) in…
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Sidney Fox and his Research for the Origins of Life

Sidney Fox and his Research for the Origins of Life

On March 24, 1912, American biochemist Sidney W. Fox was born. In search for the origins of life, Fox explored the synthesis of amino acids from inorganic molecules, the synthesis of proteinous amino acids and amino acid polymers called “proteinoids” from inorganic molecules and thermal energy, and created what he thought was the world‘s first protocell out of proteinoids and water. “A further aspect I should like to discuss is what I…
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Johann Rudolf Glauber – the first Chemical Engineer

Johann Rudolf Glauber – the first Chemical Engineer

On March 10, 1604, German-Dutch alchemist and chemist Johann Rudolf Glauber was born. His discovery of sodium sulfate in 1625 led to the compound being named after him: “Glauber‘s salt“. He also noted the formation of nitric acid from potassium nitrate and sulphuric acid. Glauber prepared many substances, made useful observations on dyeing, and described the preparation of tartar emetic. Early Years Johann Rudolf Glauber was born in Karlstadt am Main, the Kingdom…
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Robert Boyle – The Sceptical Chemist

Robert Boyle – The Sceptical Chemist

On December 31, 1691, Anglo-Irish natural philosopher, chemist, physicist and inventor Robert Boyle passed away. Boyle is largely regarded today as the first modern chemist, and therefore one of the founders of modern chemistry, and one of the pioneers of modern experimental scientific method. He is best known for Boyle’s law, which describes the inversely proportional relationship between the absolute pressure and volume of a gas, if the temperature is kept constant…
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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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