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 Dmitry Mendeleev

Born:   08 February 1834
Deceased:   02 February 1907

World famous Russian chemist


Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleev was born in Tobolsk, on 27th of January (8th of February) 1834. His father was a director of an upper secondary school. In 1850 Mendeleev was admitted to natural science department of Saint Petersburgs Main Pedagogic University, where such famous scientists of that time as eminent physicist E. Lenz, chemist A. Voskresensky and mathematician N. Ostrogradsky were his teachers.

In the period of 1855-1856 Dmitry Mendeleev worked as a teacher in Richelieu lyceum in Odessa, after that he defended his master thesis in Saint Petersburg University and was appointed as a privat-docent of said educational and scientific institution in 1857. Two years have passed, and Mendeleev was detached to Heidelberg, where he worked in the laboratories of Robert Bunsen and Gustav Robert Kirchhoff. That was the time he made one of his important discoveries he defined absolute boiling temperature for liquids, a parameter, which now is known as critical temperature. In 1860 Mendeleev together with six more Russian chemists actively participated in the famous International Chemists Congress in Karlsruhe, where Cannizzaro reported his interpretation of Avogadros atomic and molecular theory. The speech of Italian scientist and following discussion on distinguishing such notions as atoms, molecules and equivalents were crucial for periodic law discovery.

In 1861 Mendeleev returned to Russia for continuing his lectures in Saint Petersburg University and published first Russian organic chemistry school-book. In 1864 after elections Dmitry Ivanovich became a chemistry professor of Saint Petersburg Institute of Technology, and the following year saw defense of his Doctor of Science thesis Essay on integration of spirit with water, where the genius has outlined hydrate solution theory, and appointment of the chemist to full professor post of technical chemistry department of Saint Petersburg university. In 1867 Mendeleev became the head of inorganic chemistry department. In 1868 Mendeleev turned his hand to writing a fundamental chemistry textbook, first two volumes of which, ABC of Chemistry, came off the press in 1868 and 1869, and second part, also in two volumes, appeared in 1871. The textbook went through eight editions, while the scientist was alive. The introduction to the second edition boasted the table with several columns with symbols of 63 chemical elements, known at that time. The table was called Attempt of systemizing elements on the basis of their atomic weight and chemical similarity. During the session of the Russian Chemical Society in March 1869 N.A. Menshutkin has presented the periodic table of elements on behalf of Dmitry Mendeleev. It took Mendeleev following two years to eliminate numerous inconsistencies, which appeared during correction of location of some elements in the periodic table, however, two classic papers Natural system of elements and its application in predicting properties of some elements (in Russian) and Periodic law of chemical elements (in German, in Liebichs Annales) were published in 1871. In his first paper Dmitry Mendeleev passed a revolutionary hypothesis about existence of some previously unknown elements analogues of aluminum (ekaaluminum gallium, which was discovered in 1875), boron (ekaboron scandium, which was discovered in 1879) and silicium (ekasilicium germanium, which was discovered in 1886).

In 1872 Mendeleev started to study gas tension, and in 1874 his studies resulted in generalized perfect gas equation (Mendeleev's-Clapeyron equation). The period between 1880 and 1885 caught the chemist studying oil refinery and working out the principle of oil fractional distillation. In 1888 Mendeleev has suggested a concept of underground coal gasification and in 1891-1892 developed a technology for producing new type of smokeless gunpowder. In 1890, after 30 years spent in Saint Petersburg University, Dmitry Ivanovich had to leave it due to a conflict with the minister of National Education. In 1892 Mendeleev took a post of a keeper in the Depot of standard gages and weights (which became the Main Weights and Measures Department in 1893), thus promoting further development of metric works in Russia.

Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleev was a member of over 90 science academies, scientific societies and universities of various countries. He is a founder of Russian Chemical Society (1868) and was elected its president several times (18831884, 1891, 1892, and 1894). 101st element of the periodic table is named after the genius.

Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleev died in Saint Petersburg January the 20th (2nd of February) of 1907.


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