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Johannes van der Waals –  A Pioneer in the Molecular Sciences

Johannes van der Waals – A Pioneer in the Molecular Sciences

On November 23, 1837 Dutch theoretical physicist and Nobel Laureate Johannes Diderik van der Waals was born. He is best known for his work on an equation of state for gases and liquids. “…There can be no doubt that the name of Van der Waals will soon be among the foremost in molecular science”  — James Clerk Maxwell’s remarks in Nature magazine (1873). Johannes van der Waals Background Johannes Diderik van der Waals…
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Heike Kamerlingh Onnes and Superconductivity

Heike Kamerlingh Onnes and Superconductivity

On April 8, 1911, Dutch physicist and Nobel Laureate Heike Kamerlingh Onnes found that at a temperature of only 4.2 K (-269° C) the resistance in a solid mercury wire immersed in liquid helium suddenly vanished. Kamerlingh Onnes discovered superconductivity. „Door meten tot weten“ – “Through measurement to knowledge” – Motto of Kamerlingh Onnes’ Laboratory Early Years Born in Groningen, Netherlands, Kamerlingh Onnes also attended the city’s university and studied under the famous…
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Sir Frederick Abel and the Smokeless Gunpowder

Sir Frederick Abel and the Smokeless Gunpowder

On July 17, 1827, English chemist Sir Frederick Abel was born. Abel was a military explosives specialist, and with the chemist Sir James Dewar, invented cordite in 1889, which is a smokeless gunpowder that was later adopted as the standard explosive of the British army, and proved vital in WWI. Frederick Abel – Early Years Frederick Abel was the son of the German-English musician Johann Leopold Abel and great-grandson of Leopold August…
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Christian Friedrich Schönbein – Ozone and Explosives

Christian Friedrich Schönbein – Ozone and Explosives

On August 29, 1868, German-Swiss chemist Christian Friedrich Schönbein passed away. Schönbein is best known for inventing the fuel cell (1838) at the same time as William Robert Grove and his discoveries of guncotton and ozone, of which he also coined its name. Christian Friedrich Schönbein came from a Pietist family, his father was a dyer, postman and accountant. He was apprenticed to a chemical and pharmaceutical firm at Böblingen when he was…
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