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Portrait of Adolf von Baeyer (1835-1917), German organic chemist and Nobel Laureate. Von Baeyer's father was a Prussian soldier (later a general). He started experimental chemistry at an early age, making his first new compound at the age of 12. After military service, he studied under Bunsen and Kekule, specialising in organic chemistry. He successfully deduced the structure and synthesis of indigo (the dye), and of the first barbiturate drugs (supposedly named after a lady friend called Barbara). He devised 'strain theory' to account for the stability of carbocyclic rings following studies of the explosive polyalkynes. He was awarded the 1905 Nobel Prize for his life's work.
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