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Eilhard Mitscherlich, German chemist

Eilhard Mitscherlich, German chemist

C006/4421

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ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Eilhard Mitscherlich (1794-1863), German chemist. Mitscherlich was born at Wilhelmshaven. He was educated at Heidelberg, specialising in philology. He wanted to visit Persia but was unable to do so, so he decided to become a doctor as he would have more freedom of movement throughout the Middle East. He started with chemistry, but this so captivated him he gave up his plans. In 1818 he went to Berlin to work under Link analysing crystals. He developed the theory of isomorphism. In this he suggested that compounds crystallising in similar structures probably have similar compositions. His work impressed Berzelius, who persuaded the Prussian government to give Mitscherlich a grant allowing him to study in Stockholm. When Mitscherlich returned to Berlin he was appointed a professor of chemistry at the university. In 1829-30 he published his Lehrbuch der Chemie (Textbook of Chemistry).

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