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Wilhelm Ostwald

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Wilhelm Ostwald

Wilhelm Ostwald (September 2, 1853 - April 4, 1932) was a German chemist. He received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1909 for his work on catalysis, chemical equilibria and reaction velocities.

Biography

He was born in Riga (at that time Russia, today Latvia), as the son of master-cooper Gottfried Wilhelm Ostwald and Elisabeth Leuckel. He graduated from the University of Tartu in 1875, then taught at Tartu from 1875 to 1881 and Riga Polytechnicum from 1881 to 1887. In 1887, he moved to Leipzig where he worked for the rest of his life.

He invented the Ostwald process used in the manufacture of nitric acid, leading to mass production of fertilizers and explosives. He also did significant work on dilution theory leading to his discovery of the law of dilution which is named after him.

The origin of the word mole, according to Gorin, was introduced into chemistry around 1900 by Ostwald. Ostwald defined one mole as the molecular weight of a substance in mass grams. The concept was linked to the ideal gas, according to Ostwald. Ironically, Ostwald's development of the mole concept was directly related to his philosophical opposition to the atomic theory, against which he (along with Ernst Mach) was one of the last holdouts. He explained in a conversation with Arnold Sommerfeld that he was converted by Einstein's explanation of Brownian Motion.

Additionally to his work in chemistry, Wilhelm Ostwald was very productive in an extremely broad range of fields. His published work, which includes numerous philosophical writings, contains of about forty thousand pages.

At the end of his extremely prolific life, Ostwald died in a hospital in Leipzig on April 4, 1932.

Publications

  • Ostwald, W., "Grundriss der allgemeinen Chemie". Leipzig, Engelmann, 1900.
  • Ostwald, W., "Grundriss der allgemeinen Chemie". 5th ed. Dresden, Steinkopff, 1917.

External links and references

de:Wilhelm Ostwald es:Wilhelm Ostwald eo:Wilhelm OSTWALD fr:Wilhelm Ostwald io:Wilhelm Ostwald nl:Wilhelm Ostwald ja:ヴィルヘルム・オストヴァルト pt:Wilhelm Ostwald sk:Wilhelm F. Ostwald sl:Wilhelm Ostwald sv:Wilhelm Ostwald

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