chemistry

Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran and the Improvement of Spectroscopy

Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran and the Improvement of Spectroscopy

On April 18, 1838, French chemist Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran was born. Lecoq de Boisbaudran improved spectroscopic methods which had recently been developed by Paul Kirchhoff. Furthermore he is known for his discoveries of the chemical elements gallium, samarium and dysprosium. Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran – Early Years Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran belonged to the ancient Protestant nobility of Poitou and Angoumois, whose considerable fortune, however, disappeared after the revocation of the Edict of…
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Ernest Solvay and his Love for Physics

Ernest Solvay and his Love for Physics

On April 16, 1838, Belgian chemist, industrialist and philanthropist Ernest Gaston Joseph Solvay was born. Solvay invented the Solvay Process (1863), a commercially viable ammonia-soda process for producing soda ash (sodium carbonate), widely used in the manufacture of such products as glass and soap. In 1911, he began a series of important conferences in physics, known as the Solvay Conferences, whose participants included luminaries such as Max Planck, Ernest Rutherford, Maria Skłodowska-Curie, Henri…
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Melvin Calvin and the Calvin Cycle in Photosynthesis

Melvin Calvin and the Calvin Cycle in Photosynthesis

On April 8, 1911, American biochemist Melvin Calvin was born. Calvin is best known for furthering our knowledge of the mechanism of photosynthesis with the discovery the Calvin cycle along with Andrew Benson and James Bassham, for which he was awarded the 1961 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Youth and Education Calvin was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, the son of Elias Calvin and Rose Herwitz, immigrants from Russia. Originally, his father was…
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Hermann Staudinger and the Macromolecules

Hermann Staudinger and the Macromolecules

On March 23, 1881, German organic chemist Hermann Staudinger was born. Staudinger demonstrated the existence of macromolecules, which he characterized as polymers. For this work he received the 1953 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He is also known for his discovery of ketenes and of the Staudinger reaction. “The most fundamental difference between compounds of low molecular weight and macromolecular compounds resides in the fact that the latter may exhibit properties that cannot…
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Harry Coover and the Invention of Super Glue

Harry Coover and the Invention of Super Glue

On March 6, 1917, American chemist and inventor Harry Wesley Coover Jr was born. He is best known for having invented Eastman 910, better known as super glue. Super Glue is based on cyanoacrylates, a family of strong fast-acting adhesives with industrial, medical, and household uses. Harry Coover’s Career with Eastman Kodak Harry Coover was born in Newark, Delaware, and attended Hobart College, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree. For his later…
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Herbert Henry Dow – Chemist and Industrialist

Herbert Henry Dow – Chemist and Industrialist

On February 26, 1866, American chemical industrialist Herbert Henry Dow was born. Dow best known as the founder of the American multinational conglomerate Dow Chemical. He also was a prolific inventor of chemical processes, compounds, and products, and was a successful businessman. Herbert Henry Dow – Early Years Herbert Henry Dow was born in Belleville, Ontario, Canada, the eldest child of Americans Joseph Henry Dow, an inventor and mechanical engineer, and his…
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Theodore William Richards and the Weight of Chemical Elements

Theodore William Richards and the Weight of Chemical Elements

On January 31, 1868, American chemist Theodore William Richards was born. Richards was the first American scientist to receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry “in recognition of his accurate determinations of the atomic weight of a large number of chemical elements.” His work meticulously refined the classical gravimetric methods of analysis to better reduce the sources of error. Together with his co-workers, he was able to measure accurate values for atomic weight…
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Artturi Ilmari Virtanen and the Ingredients of Plant Food

Artturi Ilmari Virtanen and the Ingredients of Plant Food

On January 15, 1895, Finnish chemist and Nobel Laureate Artturi Ilmari Virtanen was born. Virtanen invented AIV silage which improved milk production and a method of preserving butter, the AIV salt, which led to increased Finnish butter exports. Artturi Virtanen – Youth and Education Artturi Ilmari Virtanen was born in Helsinki, Finland, the son of Kaarlo Virtanen and Serafiina Isotalo. He received his school education in the Viipuri grammar school (Vyborg), after which he studied…
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Geneviève Thiroux d’Arconville and the Chemistry of Putrefaction

Geneviève Thiroux d’Arconville and the Chemistry of Putrefaction

On December 23, 1805, Marie-Geneviève-Charlotte Thiroux d’Arconville, née d’Arlus, passed away, who was referred to as Geneviève Thiroux d’Arconville. She was a French writer, translator and naturalist. As a researcher in the field of chemistry, she became known for her studies on decay processes. Her work represented basic research on decomposition processes. She also published, anonymously throughout, numerous philosophical, literary and historical writings as well as translations. Further manuscripts, which she had compiled in twelve volumes,…
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Ellen Swallow Richards and Home Economics

Ellen Swallow Richards and Home Economics

On December 3, 1842, American chemist Ellen Henrietta Swallow Richards was born. She was the foremost female industrial and environmental chemist in the United States during the 19th century. Her pioneering work in sanitary engineering and experimental research in domestic science widened professional opportunities for women in the sciences and laid a foundation for the new science of home economics. “For this knowledge of right living, we have sought a new name……
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