chemistry

Ernst Boris Chain and his Research on Antibiotics

Ernst Boris Chain and his Research on Antibiotics

On June 19, 1906, German-born British biochemist and Nobel Laureate Sir Ernst Boris Chain was born. He is best known for being one of the founders of chemical and medical research on antibiotics, esp. on Penicillinum. “Science, as long as it limits itself to the descriptive study of the laws of nature, has no moral or ethical quality and this applies to the physical as well as the biological sciences.” (Sir Ernst Boris Chain,…
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Robert Mulliken and the Molecular Orbitals

Robert Mulliken and the Molecular Orbitals

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. “…the more accurate the calculations became, the more the concepts tended to vanish into thin air.” — Robert Mulliken, about using old-fashioned chemistry to describe molecular structure, in Molecular Scientists and…
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Mary the Jewess and the Origins of Chemistry

Mary the Jewess and the Origins of Chemistry

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 and is considered to be the first true alchemist of the…
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Carl Wilhelm Scheele and the Discovery of Oxygen

Carl Wilhelm Scheele and the Discovery of Oxygen

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. Early Years 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 family taught him reading prescriptions and equipped him with further chemical knowledge. At the…
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Justus von Liebig and the Agricultural Revolution

Justus von Liebig and the Agricultural Revolution

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 though Justus Liebig was a curious student,…
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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 in…
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Marie Curie – Truly an Extraordinary Woman

Marie Curie – Truly an Extraordinary Woman

On November 7, 1867, Marie Curie was born, French-Polish physicist, chemist, pioneer in research of radioactivity.  She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, is the only woman to win the Nobel prize twice, and is the only person to win the Nobel Prize in two different scientific fields. “One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.” — Marie Curie, Letter to her…
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