chemistry

Nicolas Lemery and the Acid-Base Chemistry

Nicolas Lemery and the Acid-Base Chemistry

On November 17, 1647, French chemist Nicolas Lémery was born. Lemery was one of the first to develop theories on acid-base chemistry in a time which was often referred to as “the dawn of scientific chemistry” . “Chemistry is the art which teaches the separation of different substances encountered in a mixture.” — Nicolas Lemery (1675), Course on Chemistry  Nicholas Lemery – Family Background and Education Nicolas Lemery was the fifth of seven…
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Antoine Lavoisier’s Theory of Combustion

Antoine Lavoisier’s Theory of Combustion

On Nov 1, 1772, French chemist Antoine Lavoisier [1] reported in a note to the Secretary of the French Academy of Sciences about the role of “air” in the combustion process. It required five more years of experiments, before in 1777, Lavoisier was ready to propose a new theory of combustion that excluded phlogiston,[4] which according to the prevailing theories of the time was part of every matter and responsible for the combustion process.…
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Primo Levi and the Best Science Book ever Written

Primo Levi and the Best Science Book ever Written

On July 31, 1919, Italian Jewish chemist, writer, and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi was born. As a writer, he is noted for his restrained and moving autobiographical account of and reflections on survival in the Nazi concentration camps. His book The Periodic Table, a collection of short stories published in 1975, and named after the periodic table in chemistry, was named it the best science book ever by the Royal Institution of…
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Johann Joachim Becher and the Phlogiston Theory of Combustion

Johann Joachim Becher and the Phlogiston Theory of Combustion

On May 6, 1636, German physician, alchemist, precursor of chemistry, scholar and adventurer Johann Joachim Becher was born. He is best known for his development of the phlogiston theory of combustion, in which all flammable objects were supposed to contain a substance which was released when the object burned, and his advancement of Austrian cameralism. “The chemists are a strange class of mortals, impelled by an almost insane impulse to seek their…
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John William Draper – Chemist and Photo Pioneer

John William Draper – Chemist and Photo Pioneer

On May 5, 1811, American philosopher, physician, chemist, historian and photographer John William Draper was born. He is credited with producing the first clear photograph of a female face (1839–40) and the first detailed photograph of the Moon (1840). He was also the first president of the American Chemical Society (1876–77) and a founder of the New York University School of Medicine. John William Draper – Early Years John William Draper was…
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Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus and the White Gold

Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus and the White Gold

On April 10, 1719, German mathematician, physicist, physician, and philosopher Ehrenfried Walter von Tschirnhaus was born. Among others, he is credited being the first European to discover the secret of the creation of porcelain in 1708. Certainly, the Meissen factory, established 1710 with its director Johann Friedrich Böttger, was the first to produce porcelain in Europe in large quantities and since the recipe was kept a trade secret by Böttger for his company, experiments…
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Ira Remsen and the Discovery of Saccharin

Ira Remsen and the Discovery of Saccharin

On February 10, 1846, American chemist Ira Remsen was born. Along with his student Constantin Fahlberg, Remsen discovered the artificial sweetener saccharin working on coal tar derivatives. “Be a physical chemist, an analytical chemist, an organic chemist, if you will; but above all, be a chemist.” – Ira Remsen, as quoted in [8] Ira Remsen – Early Years Ira Remsen was born in New York City. His parents were both descended from…
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Ilya Prigogine and the Irreversibility of Time

Ilya Prigogine and the Irreversibility of Time

On January 25, 1917, Belgian physical chemist and Nobel Laureate Ilya Prygogine was born. He is noted for his work on dissipative structures, complex systems, and irreversibility. The main theme of Prigogine‘s work was the search for a better understanding of the role of time in the physical sciences and in biology. He attempted to reconcile a tendency in nature for disorder to increase with so-called “self-organisation“. “The problem of time in physics…
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Sir William Ramsay and the Discovery of Noble Gases

Sir William Ramsay and the Discovery of Noble Gases

On October 2, 1852, Scottish chemist Sir William Ramsay was born. Ramsay discovered the noble gases and received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1904 “in recognition of his services in the discovery of the inert gaseous elements in air” along with his collaborator, John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh, who received the Nobel Prize in Physics that same year for their discovery of argon.[1] “But I am leaving the regions of…
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Frederick Scott Archer and the Collodion Process

Frederick Scott Archer and the Collodion Process

On May 2 1857, British sculptor and photographic pioneer Frederick Scott Archer passed away. Frederick Scott Archer invented the photographic collodion process which preceded the modern gelatin emulsion. The complex process required the photographic material to be coated, sensitized, exposed and developed within the span of about fifteen minutes, necessitating a portable darkroom for use in the field. Frederick Scott Archer’s Way to Photography Frederick Scott Archer was born in 1813 in…
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