chemistry

Michael Polanyi’s Criticism on Positivism

Michael Polanyi’s Criticism on Positivism

On March 11, 1891, Hungarian-British polymath Michael Polanyi was born. Polanyi made important theoretical contributions to physical chemistry, economics, and philosophy. He argued that positivism supplies a false account of knowing, which if taken seriously undermines humanity’s highest achievements. “When order is achieved among human beings by allowing them to interact with each other on their own initiative — subject only to the laws which uniformly apply to all of them —…
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Carl Djerassi and the Oral Contraceptive Pill

Carl Djerassi and the Oral Contraceptive Pill

On 18 August, Enovid was launched as the first contraceptive pill in the United States. It was developed by Austrian-born Bulgarian-American chemist, novelist, and playwright Carl Djerassi. Furthermore, he is noted for establishing physical methods for determining organic molecular structure and his contributions to synthetic organic chemistry, his effectiveness in translating scientific knowledge into technological practice, and his efforts to promote international scientific cooperation. Youth in Austria and Emigration to the USA Carl Djerassi…
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Friedrich Accum and the Popularization of Chemistry

Friedrich Accum and the Popularization of Chemistry

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. Youth and Education Accum was born in Bückeburg, Schaumburg-Lippe (near Hannover), where his father was in the service of Count Wilhelm von Schaumburg-Lippe. Friedrich’ father died,…
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Modern Chemistry started with Antoine Lavoisier

Modern Chemistry started with Antoine Lavoisier

On August 26, 1743, French nobleman and chemist Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier was born. De Lavoisier is considered as one of the fathers of modern chemistry. “We must trust to nothing but facts: These are presented to us by Nature, and cannot deceive. We ought, in every instance, to submit our reasoning to the test of experiment, and never to search for truth but by the natural road of experiment and observation.”…
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Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit and the Measurement of Temperature

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit and the Measurement of Temperature

On May 24, 1686, Dutch-German-Polish physicist, engineer, and glass blower Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit was born. He is is best known for his invention of the mercury-in-glass thermometer in 1714, and for developing a temperature scale that is now named after him. Daniel Fahrenheit – Youth and Education Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit’s parents living in Gdansk, Poland, were Daniel (1656-1701) and Concordia Fahrenheit (1657-1701) (née Schumann, related Runge). The mother came from a well-known Gdañsk…
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Robert Wilhelm Bunsen and the Bunsen Burner

Robert Wilhelm Bunsen and the Bunsen Burner

On March 30, 1811, German chemist Robert Wilhelm Bunsen was born. Bunsen investigated emission spectra of heated elements, and discovered caesium (in 1860) and rubidium (in 1861) with the physicist Gustav Kirchhoff.[6] He developed several gas-analytical methods, was a pioneer in photochemistry, and did early work in the field of organoarsenic chemistry. With his laboratory assistant, Peter Desaga, he developed the Bunsen burner, an improvement on the laboratory burners then in use.…
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Hans Christian Ørsted connecting Electricity and Magnetism

Hans Christian Ørsted connecting Electricity and Magnetism

On March 9, 1851, Danish physicist Hans Christian Ørsted passed away. Hans Christian Ørsted discovered that electric currents create magnetic fields, which was the first connection found between electricity and magnetism. He is still known today for Oersted‘s Law and the oersted (Oe), the cgs unit of magnetic H-field strength, is named after him. “The agreement of this law with nature will be better seen by the repetition of experiments than by…
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Otto Hahn – the Father of Nuclear Chemistry

Otto Hahn – the Father of Nuclear Chemistry

On March 8, 1879, German chemist and pioneer in the fields of radioactivity and radiochemistry Otto Hahn was born. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1944 for the discovery and the radiochemical proof of nuclear fission at the exclusion of his colleague Lise Meitner. He is referred to as the father of nuclear chemistry. “Usually, a discovery is not made in the easiest but on a complicated way; the simple cases…
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Carl Remigius Fresenius and the Analytical Chemistry

Carl Remigius Fresenius and the Analytical Chemistry

On December 28, 1818, German chemist Carl Remigius Fresenius was born. Fresenius is known for his studies in analytical chemistry. He devised a method for systematic identification and separation of individual metal and non-metal ions, selecting the most suitable reactions from the many that were known. Early Years Carl Remigius Fresenius was the son of Jakob Samuel Heinrich Fresenius, a lawyer with a doctorate in law. After attending school at the Bender Institute…
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Jaroslav Heyrovský and the Polarography

Jaroslav Heyrovský and the Polarography

On December 20, 1890, Czech chemist and inventor Jaroslav Heyrovský was born. Jaroslav Heyrovský received the 1959 Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for his discovery and development of the polarographic methods of analysis” (1922), which is one of the most versatile analytical techniques. It applies the principle that in electrolysis the ions are discharged at an electrode and, if the electrode is small, the current may be limited by the rate of movement of…
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