Justus von Liebig

Max Delbrück – Co-founder of Modern Molecular Biology and Genetics

Max Delbrück – Co-founder of Modern Molecular Biology and Genetics

On September 4, 1906, German biophysicist and Nobel laureate Max Delbrück was born in Berlin. His best known achievement for that he won the Nobel prize was the discovy that bacteria become resistant to viruses (phages) as a result of genetic mutations. “If you’re too sloppy, then you never get reproducible results, and then you never can draw any conclusions; but if you are just a little sloppy, then when you see…
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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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Auguste Laurent and Organic Chemistry

Auguste Laurent and Organic Chemistry

On November 14, 1807, French chemist Auguste Laurent was born. Laurent developed organic chemistry as a distinct science. For a while, he assisted Jean Dumas, and extended his work, understanding organic compounds as derivatives of hydrocarbon molecules. He devised a systematic nomenclature for organic chemistry based on structural grouping of atoms within molecules to determine how the molecules combine in organic reactions. Youth and Education Auguste Laurent was born in the district…
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Emil Erlenmayer and the Erlenmayer Flask

Emil Erlenmayer and the Erlenmayer Flask

On June 28, 1825, German chemist Emil Erlenmeyer was born. Erlenmayer is known for contributing to the early development of the theory of structure, formulating the Erlenmeyer rule, and especially for designing the Erlenmeyer flask, a type of chemical flask, which is named after him. Actually, I remember the Erlenmeyer flask from my earliest chemistry lessons back in high school. So, who was the man behind that prominent gadget? Richard August Carl…
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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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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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Ascanio Sobrero and the Power of Nitroglycerine

Ascanio Sobrero and the Power of Nitroglycerine

Ascanio Sobrero (1812–1888) On October 12, 1812, Italian chemist Ascanio Sobrero was born. During his experimental research he discovered the explosive compound nitroglycerine. Sobrero was horrified by the destructive potential of his discovery, and made no effort to develop that power himself. Possibly, the only name that pops up in your mind when you think of the explosive nitroglycerine is Alfred Nobel, the guy who also funded the eponymous prices for advancement in…
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Rudolf Leuckart and the Tapeworm

Rudolf Leuckart and the Tapeworm

Karl Georg Friedrich Rudolf Leuckart (1822-1898) On October 7, 1822, German zoologist Karl Georg Friedrich Rudolf Leuckart was born. He is known to be one of the initiators of modern parasitology. Leuckart described the complicated life histories of various parasites, including tapeworms and the liver fluke, and demonstrated that some human diseases, such as trichinosis, are caused by multicellular animals of the various wormlike phyla. Rudolf Leuckart was born in Helmstedt, Lower Saxony as son…
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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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Justus von Liebig and the Agricultural Revolution

Justus von Liebig and the Agricultural Revolution

On May 12, 1803, German chemist Justus Freiherr von Liebig was born, who made major contributions to agricultural and biological chemistry. He is probably best known as the “father of the fertilizer industry” for his discovery of nitrogen as an essential plant nutrient. Justus Liebig’s father was also a chemist and he began his experiments with his father’s equipment in very early childhood years. Even though Justus Liebig was a curious student,…
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