famous chemists

Famous Chemists A-Z 🧪

List of Famous Chemists A-Z 🧪

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Famous Chemists Born Died Country Fields + Awards General Knowledge Facts & Trivia About Famous Chemists
Boyle, Robert 1627 1691 🇬🇧 United Kingdom Physics and chemistry Robert Boyle was one of Britains most famous scientists. Boyle explored the properties of air and gases and discovered that (at a constant temperature) pressure and volume are inversely proportional to one another. He confirmed Galileo’s “free fall” law, defined the term “analysis” (Greek: “resolution”), found acids and bases and, in doing so, discovered acetone and methanol. Was also the first to isolate oxygen. His major work: “The skeptical chymist” (1661).
Bunsen, Robert Wilhelm 1811 1899 🇩🇪 Germany Chemistry. Robert Bunsen is best known for improving laboratory burners “Bunsen burner“. Together with Gustav Kirchhoff Bunsen developed spectral analysis which aids research and proof of chemical elements.
Cavendish, Henry 1731 1810 🇬🇧 United Kingdom Chemistry and physics Henry Cavendish was a wealthy, eccentric loner and misogynist. He was regarded as a pioneer of modern chemistry. He weighed and measured many gases and elements (before and after combustion) and discovered, among other things, the element hydrogen.
Charpentier, Emmanuelle
1968 🇫🇷 France Chemistry, genetics, biochemistry, microbiology Emmanuelle Charpentier founded the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens In 2020. Charpentier is best known for her work on CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) derived from DNA fragments.

Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna, won the 2020 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for developing genome editing using Cas9 to make cuts in any DNA sequence which can be used for basic research, biotech products and to create treatments for diseases, potentially including Coronaviruses.

Curie, Marie 1867 1934 🇵🇱 Poland, 🇫🇷 France Physics, Chemistry
Nobel Prizes 1903, 1911
Marie Curie (or Marie Skłodowska Curie, born Maria Salomea Skłodowska) was born in Poland and became French later. Her work led to the development of X-rays. The first chemical element she discovered was polonium, which she named after her native country. Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and to do so in two categories: Physics in 1903 and chemistry in 1911. When she died from aplastic anemia, caused by her frequent exposure to radiation, she was also the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris. One of the most famous chemists of all time.
Faraday, Michael 1791 1867 🇬🇧 United Kingdom Chemistry and physics Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic technology when he constructed the first dynamo, This led to the first electric motor. In 1832 Faraday described the principles of electrolysis and electrostatics. To prove his theory, he built the “Faraday cage”.
Franklin, Rosalind 1920 1958 🇬🇧 United Kingdom X-ray Crystallography, Chemistry Rosalind Franklin’s areas of research were DNA, RNA, graphite, coal and viruses. Her work greatly improved understanding of molecular structures. It is widely believed that James Watson and Francis Crick’s discovery of the structure of DNA was only possible through Franklin’s work.
Galilei, Galileo 1564 1642 🇮🇹 Italy Astronomy, physics and chemistry Galileo Galilei is the founder of the fields of dynamics mechanics and acoustics. He discovered the laws of falling bodies, ballistics and pendulums, and confirmed Copernicus‘ heliocentric view of the world through astronomical observations using a telescope he’d also improved. In this way, he first saw the moon’s surface and many other stars. The scientific genius also examined gases and proved that air has a weight of its own and is, therefore, also matter. One of the most famous chemists of all time.
Haber, Fritz 1868 1934 🇩🇪 Germany Chemistry. Nobel Prize 1918 Fritz Haber is both an infamous and famous scientist! In 1918 Haber received a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this part in the invention of the Haber–Bosch process which enhanced food production. On the downside he is known as the “father of chemical warfare” because he weaponized poison gases used in WWI and created ammonia synthesis used to manufacture explosives.
Hahn, Otto 1879 1968 🇩🇪 Germany Chemistry. Nobel Prize 1944 Otto Hahn irradiated uranium with neutrons in 1938 which split uranium and freed barium. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for this first “nuclear fission”. Hahn was a close friend of the physicist Lise Meitner.
Hodgkin, Dorothy Mary 1910 1994 🇬🇧 United Kingdom X-ray Crystallography, Biochemistry Dorothy Hodgkin is known for her research into protein crystallography, which examines how protein crystals form. They are mainly used in science and industrial applications. Her X-ray crystallography techniques are used work out 3D structures of biomolecules. She was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her work on the structure of vitamin B12.
Hooke, Robert 1635 1703 🇬🇧 United Kingdom 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Chemistry and biology Together with Robert Boyle, Hooke improved the air pump devised by Otto von Guericke (1602-1686), developed special microscopes with which he discovered plant cells (named after him).
Howard, Luke 1772 1864 🇬🇧 United Kingdom Chemistry and meteorology Known as the “father of meteorology”, he devised a nomenclature system for clouds in 1802 which – with modifications – is still in use today. He gave names to the three main types of clouds – cumulus, stratus and cirrus and combinations like stratocumulus and cumulonimbus.
Joliot-Curie, Irène 1897 1956 🇫🇷 France Chemistry.
Nobel Prize 1935
Irene Joliot Curie, who was the daughter of the famous Marie Curie and Pierre Curie, won the 1935 Nobel Prize for chemistry together with her husband Frederic for finding artificial radioactivity. As a result, the Curie family holds the record for the most Nobel laureates to date. Joliot-Curie’s 2 children, Hélène and Pierre, are also respected scientists.
Joule, James Prescott 1818 1889 🇬🇧 United Kingdom Physics and chemistry Proved through experimentation that heat is a form of energy which is dependent on resistance, time and current strength. James Prescott Joule also discovered the internal energy of gases (the Joule-Thomson effect).
Kelvin, William Thomson 1824 1907 🇮🇪 Ireland Physics and chemistry William Kelvin was specialist in thermodynamics. He developed and fixed the Kelvin units temperature scale. Together with James Joule, Kelvin discovered gases under pressure change temperature and that at “absolute zero” (-273 ° C) all particles stop moving.
Lavoisier, Antoine 1743 1794 🇫🇷 France Chemistry Antoine Lavoisier is the father of modern chemistry. He proved water is a compound of hydrogen and oxygen and that air is a compound of oxygen and nitrogen. Lavoisier’s meticulous experiments with sulfur and phosphorus demonstrated a burnt substance gains as much weight as the oxygen added. Lavoisier provided a nomenclature for chemistry by counting and symbolizing elements. During the French Revolution, he was guillotined to death, ending the life of one of the most famous scientists of all time.
Liebig, Justus von 1803 1873 🇩🇪 Germany Chemistry Justus von Liebig was a pioneer of organic chemistry and founder of agriculture chemistry. Liebig founded a chemical laboratory and scientific training center in Giessen, Germany and undertook many organic elemental analyses with his students. Liebig investigated metabolism, and showed agriculture withdraws important nutrients from the soil which can only be replaced by adding fertilizers.
Mayer, Julius Robert 1814 1878 🇩🇪 Germany Physics and chemistry Julius Mayer was a physician and traveled a lot. He provided essential foundations for the field of thermodynamics. Mayer described the principle of the conservation of energy which still holds true in chemistry, physics and engineering today. Unfortunately, James Joule got most of the credit for his discoveries.
Mendeleev, Dmitri 1834 1907 🇷🇺 Russia Chemistry Dmitri Mendeleev provided order to the chaos of the elements by establishing the Periodic Table of chemical elements. Mendeleev divided chemical elements into eight groups and arranged them in order of increasing atomic weight. He predicted 8 elements which he labelled using the prefixes; eka, dvi and tri (from the Sanskrit for 1, 2 and 3). Eka-boron (Eb), eka-aluminium (Ea), eka-manganese (Em) and eka-silicon (Es) turned out to be the properties of Scandium, Gallium, Technetium and Germanium which now fill the spots in the periodic table predicted and assigned by Mendeleev. One of the most famous chemists of all time.
Nobel, Alfred Bernhard 1833 1896 🇸🇪 Sweden Physics and chemistry Alfred Nobel invented dynamite along with 355 other patents. He Introduced the world-famous Nobel prizes for various fields after reading his obituary while still alive. Shocked by its lacklustre content he set about improving his legacy. Nobelium, a synthetic element, was named after him. One of Sweden’s most famous chemists.
Ostwald, Wilhelm 1853 1932 🇩🇪 Germany Chemistry. Nobel Prize 1909 Wilhelm Ostwald experimented with acids, salts and bases, explored their conductivity and reaction rates, and in doing so discovered affinity constants “Ostwald’s Law of Dilution“. The famous chemist also worked extensively with fuel cells and catalysts. In 1909 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work.
Pasteur, Louis 1822 1895 🇫🇷 France Chemistry and bacteriology Louis Pasteur worked his whole life with fermentation and putrefaction. He discovered that bacteria are responsible for these processes and that they die when boiled “pasteurization“. Pasteur discovered the anthrax pathogen and a vaccine against rabies. One of the most famous chemists of all time.
Pauling, Linus 1901 1994 USA. Chemistry and biology
1954 & 1962 Nobel Prizes
Linus Pauling conducted research with electrons and biological molecules and their chemical bonds found in nature. He is considered one of the fathers of quantum chemistry and, in 1954, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, and in 1962, the Nobel Peace Prize.
Priestley, Joseph 1733 1804 🇬🇧 United Kingdom Chemistry. Joseph Priestley was a theologian who isolated gases by using mercury. This led to his discoveries of oxygen, hydrochloric acid and laughing gas (nitrous oxide). Priestley also mixed water with carbon dioxide and in the process accidentally invented mineral water which is very popular today.
Ramsay, William 1852 1916 🇬🇧 United Kingdom Chemistry. 1904 Nobel Prize Ramsay discovered the noble gases argon, krypton, xenon and neon, and, during the decay of radon, observed the formation of helium. He found a method for determining atomic weights. In 1904 he received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
Rutherford, Ernest 1871 1937 🇳🇿 New Zealand Chemistry. 1908 Nobel Prize. Ernest Rutherford identified three types of radioactivity in 1903; alpha, beta and gamma rays. Rutherford discovered the “photoelectric effect” and performed the first artificial nuclear disintegration. This earned Rutherford the 1933 Chemistry Nobel Prize. One of the most famous chemists of all time.

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