Friedrich Wohler, German chemist

Friedrich Wohler, German chemist

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Credit: CHEMICAL HERITAGE FOUNDATION/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Friedrich Wohler (1800-1882), German chemist. Wohler studied at Heidelberg, Stockholm, Berlin and Kassel, becoming professor in chemistry at the University of Gottingen. Wohler discovered the cyanates and, in 1828, showed that heating the inorganic compound ammonium cyanate gave the biological chemical urea (ending the idea of a vital force essential for the chemistry of life). Wohler collaborated with Liebig on an important study of benzaldehyde. He was the first person to isolate aluminium and beryllium, crystalline boron and silicon, and calcium carbide. Engraved by Conrad Cook, after an original by Conrad L'Allemand (1809-1880).

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