August Kekulé

Linus Pauling – From Quantum Chemistry to Molecular Biology

Linus Pauling – From Quantum Chemistry to Molecular Biology

On February 28, 1901, American chemist, biochemist, peace activist, author, educator Linus Pauling was born. Pauling was one of the founders of the fields of quantum chemistry and molecular biology. His contributions to the theory of the chemical bond include the concept of orbital hybridisation and the first accurate scale of electronegativities of the elements. New Scientist called him one of the 20 greatest scientists of all time, and as of 2000,…
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Jacobus Henricus van ‘t Hoff and Physical Chemistry

Jacobus Henricus van ‘t Hoff and Physical Chemistry

On August 30, 1852, Dutch physical chemist Jacobus Henricus Van ‘t Hoff was born. Van ‘t Hoff was the first winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. His pioneering work helped found the modern theory of chemical affinity, chemical equilibrium, chemical kinetics, and chemical thermodynamics. He formulated the theory of the tetrahedral carbon atom and laid the foundations of stereochemistry and predicted the correct structures of allenes and cumulenes as well as their…
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Charles-Adolphe Wurtz and the Atomic Theory

Charles-Adolphe Wurtz and the Atomic Theory

On November 26, 1817, Alsatian French chemist and educator Charles-Adolphe Wurtz was born. Wurtz is best remembered for his decades-long advocacy for the atomic theory and for ideas about the structures of chemical compounds, against the skeptical opinions of chemists such as Marcellin Berthelot and Etienne Henri Sainte-Claire Deville. He is well known by organic chemists for the Wurtz reaction, to form carbon-carbon bonds by reacting alkyl halides with sodium, and for…
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James Dewar and the Liquefaction of Gases

James Dewar and the Liquefaction of Gases

Sir James Dewar (1842-1923) On September 1842, Scottish chemist and physicist Sir James Dewar was born. He is probably best-known today for his invention of the Dewar flask, which he used in conjunction with extensive research into the liquefaction of gases. James Dewar was born in Kincardine, Fife, Scotland, in 1842, the youngest of six boys. He lost his parents at the age of 15. He was educated at Dollar Academy and…
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August Kekulé and the Carbon Ring Structure

August Kekulé and the Carbon Ring Structure

August Kekulé (1829 – 1896) On July 13, 1896, German organic chemist Friedrich August Kekulé passed away. Being one of the world’s leading chemists of his time, he is best known for devising the ring structure of carbon atoms in organic molecules and became the principal founder of the theory of chemical structure. August Kekulé was born on September 7, 1829 in Darmstadt as son of a civil servant. After graduating from secondary school,…
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