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Friedrich Wohler

Friedrich Wohler

C009/3218

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Credit

NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Friedrich Wohler (1800-1882), the German chemist. Wohler discovered the cyanates and, in 1828, showed that heating the inorganic compound ammonium cyanate gave urea. As urea is a typical animal product, this reaction was interpreted by many chemists as 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 aluminum and beryllium, crystalline boron and silicon, and calcium carbide. He also noticed some similarities between compounds of carbon and silicon.

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