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Swedish chemist J.J. Berzelius (1779-1848)

Swedish chemist J.J. Berzelius (1779-1848)

H402/0183

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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Jons Jacob Berzelius (1779-1848), Swedish chemist. Berzelius was orphaned at an early age and brought up by relatives. After studying medicine he specialised in chemistry and began a systematic survey of elementary proportions in a variety of compounds, which helped to confirm Proust's law. He went on to produce the first accurate table of atomic weights of the elements, introduced initial Latin letter symbols with subscripts to describe compounds (thus ammonia would be NH3), and established himself as the world's leading authority on chemical theory. At 56 he married a 24-year-old bride and, as a gift from the Swedish King, was made a baron on his wedding day.

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