chemistry

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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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 poor…
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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 and double nobel laureate. “One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.” Marie Curie, Letter to her brother (1894) Family Background and Youth Mary Skłodowska was the youngest of five children of the teacher couple Bronisława and Władysław Skłodowski, who both came from the lower Polish land nobility, the…
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A Life of Discoveries –  the great Michael Faraday

A Life of Discoveries – the great Michael Faraday

Michael Faraday (1791 – 1867) in his laboratory Painting by Harriet Moore On September 22, 1791, the famous chemist and physicist Michael Faraday  was born. He is responsible for the discovery of the electromagnetic induction, the laws of electrolysis and best known for his inventions, which laid the foundations to the electrical industry. But, to understand the person and the scientist Michael Faraday, we have to look a little bit into his…
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