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Friedrich Wöhler

Friedrich Wöhler
Friedrich Wöhler c. 1856
Born (1800-07-31)31 July 1800
Eschersheim, Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel, Holy Roman Empire
Died 23 September 1882(1882-09-23) (aged 82)
Göttingen, German Empire
Nationality German
Fields Organic chemistry
Biochemistry
Institutions Polytechnic School in Berlin
Polytechnic School at Kassel
University of Göttingen
Doctoral advisor Leopold Gmelin
Jöns Jakob Berzelius
Doctoral students Heinrich Limpricht
Rudolph Fittig
Adolph Wilhelm Hermann Kolbe
Georg Ludwig Carius
Albert Niemann
Vojtěch Šafařík
Carl Schmidt
Theodor Zincke
Other notable students Augustus Voelcker[1]
Wilhelm Kühne
Known for Wöhler synthesis of urea
Notable awards Copley Medal (1872)

Friedrich Wöhler (31 July 1800 – 23 September 1882) was a German chemist, best known for his synthesis of urea, but also the first to isolate several chemical elements.

Contents

  • Biography 1
  • Contributions to chemistry 2
  • Major works, discoveries and research 3
  • Final days and legacy 4
  • Further works 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
    • Wikisource 9.1

Biography

He was born in Eschersheim, which belonged to Hanau at the time but is nowadays a district of Frankfurt am Main. In 1823 Wöhler finished his study of medicine in Heidelberg at the laboratory of Leopold Gmelin, who arranged for him to work under Jöns Jakob Berzelius in Stockholm. He taught chemistry from 1826 to 1831 at the Polytechnic School in Berlin until 1839 when he was stationed at the Polytechnic School at Kassel. Afterwards, he became Ordinary Professor of Chemistry in the University of Göttingen, where he remained until his death in 1882. In 1834, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Contributions to chemistry

Wöhler is regarded as a pioneer in

Major works, discoveries and research

Wöhler was also known for being a co-discoverer of beryllium, silicon and silicon nitride,[5] as well as the synthesis of calcium carbide, among others. In 1834, Wöhler and Justus Liebig published an investigation of the oil of bitter almonds. They proved by their experiments that a group of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms can behave like an element, take the place of an element, and be exchanged for elements in chemical compounds. Thus the foundation was laid of the doctrine of compound radicals, a doctrine which had a profound influence on the development of chemistry.

Friedrich Wöhler

Since the discovery of meteorites, and for many years wrote the digest on the literature of meteorites in the Jahresberichte über die Fortschritte der Chemie; he possessed the best private collection of meteoric stones and irons existing. Wöhler and Sainte Claire Deville discovered the crystalline form of boron, and Wöhler and Heinrich Buff discovered silane in 1857. Wöhler also prepared urea, a constituent of urine, from ammonium cyanate in the laboratory without the help of a living cell.

Final days and legacy

Wöhler's discoveries had great influence on the theory of chemistry. The journals of every year from 1820 to 1881 contain contributions from him. In the Scientific American supplement for 1882, it was remarked that "for two or three of his researches he deserves the highest honor a scientific man can obtain, but the sum of his work is absolutely overwhelming. Had he never lived, the aspect of chemistry would be very different from that it is now".[6]

Wöhler had several students who became notable chemists. Among them were Heinrich Limpricht, Rudolph Fittig, Adolph Wilhelm Hermann Kolbe, Albert Niemann, and Vojtěch Šafařík.

Further works

Further works from Wöhler:

  • Lehrbuch der Chemie, Dresden, 1825, 4 vols.
  • Grundriss der Anorganischen Chemie, Berlin, 1830
  • Grundriss der Chemie, Berlin, 1837–1858 Vol.1&2 Digital edition by the University and State Library Düsseldorf
  • Grundriss der Organischen Chemie, Berlin, 1840
  • Praktische Übungen in der Chemischen Analyse, Berlin, 1854

See also

Notes

  1. ^ (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ — Available in English at:
  3. ^ Cheng 2005, p. 1 cites Ramberg 2000, pp. 170–195.
  4. ^ "Ramberg (2000), following Rocke (1993), pp. 239–241, traced back the origin to H. Kopp’s Geschichte der Chemie, Vol. 1 (1843), p. 442; vol. 4 (1847), p. 244. The myth was unmasked by McKie in 1944, followed by a series of papers quoted by Ramberg" (Schummer 2003, p. 718).
  5. ^
  6. ^ Scientific American Supplement No. 362, 9 Dec 1882. Fullbooks.com. Retrieved on 28 May 2014.

References

Further reading

  • Johannes Uray: Die Wöhlersche Harnstoffsynthese und das wissenschaftliche Weltbild. Graz, Leykam, 2009.
  • Robin Keen: The Life and Work of Friedrich Wöhler. Bautz 2005.
  • Johannes Valentin: Friedrich Wöhler. Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft Stuttgart ("Grosse Naturforscher" 7) 1949.
  • Georg Schwedt: Der Chemiker Friedrich Wöhler. Hischymia 2000.

Wikisource

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