- Wilhelm Ostwald
name = Wilhelm Ostwald
birth_date = birth date|1853|9|2|mf=y
death_date = death date and age|1932|4|4|1853|9|2
field = Physical chemistry
University of Dorpat Riga Polytechnicum University of Leipzig
University of Dorpat
doctoral_advisor = Carl Schmidt
Arthur Amos Noyes Georg Bredig Paul Walden
Gilbert N. Lewis
Ostwald processOstwald viscometer
Nobel Prize for Chemistry(1909)
Friedrich Wilhelm Ostwald (Latvian: "Vilhelms Ostvalds";
September 2, 1853– April 4, 1932) was a Baltic German chemist. He received the Nobel Prize in Chemistryin 1909 for his work on catalysis, chemical equilibria and reaction velocities. Ostwald, Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff, and Svante Arrheniusare usually credited with being the modern founders of the field of physical chemistry.
Ostwald was born ethnically
Baltic Germanin Riga, Livonia, to master-cooper Gottfried Wilhelm Ostwald (1824-1903) and Elisabeth Leuckel (1824-1903). He was the middle of two brothers, Eugen (1851-1932) and Gottfried (1855-1918). Ostwald graduated from the University of Tartu, Estonia, in 1875, received his Ph.D.there in 1878 under the guidance of Carl Schmidt, and taught at Tartu from 1875 to 1881 and at Riga Polytechnicumfrom 1881 to 1887.
Wilhelm Ostwald is usually credited with inventing the
Ostwald process(patent 1902), used in the manufacture of nitric acid, although the basic chemistry had been patented some 64 years earlier by Kuhlmann, when it was probably of only academic interest due to the lack of a significant source of ammonia. That may have still been the state of affairs in 1902, although things were due to change dramatically in the second half of the decade as a result of Haber and Bosch's work on their nitrogen fixing process (completed by 1911 or 1913). The date 1908 (six years after the patent) is often given for the invention of the Ostwald process, and it may be that these developments motivated him to do additional work to commercialize the process in that time-frame. Alternatively, six years might simply have been the bureaucratic interval between filing the patent and the time it was granted.
The combination of these two breakthroughs soon led to more economical and larger-scale production of
fertilizers and explosives, of which Germanywas to find itself in desperate need during World War I. Ostwald also did significant work on dilution theory leading to his discovery of the law of dilutionwhich is named after him. Ostwald's ruleconcerns the behaviour of polymorphs. 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 Sommerfeldthat he was converted by Jean Perrin's experiments on Brownian Motion[Nye, M., 1972, Molecular Reality: A Perspective on the Scientific Work of Jean Perrin, London: MacDonald.] .
Ostwald was a member of the International Committee on Atomic Weights. As a consequence of
World War Ithis membership ended in 1917 and was not resumed after the war. The 1917 Annual report of the committee ended with the unusual note: "Because of the European war the Committee has had much difficulty in the way of correspondence. The German member, Professor Ostwald, has not been heard from in connection with this report. Possibly the censorship of letters, either in Germany or en route, has led to a miscarriage".
In addition 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 about forty thousand pages. Ostwald was also engaged in the peace movement of
Berta von Suttner.
Among his other interests, Ostwald was a passionate amateur painter who made his own pigments, and who developed a strong interest in
color theoryin the later decades of his life. He wrote several publications in the field, such as his "Malerbriefe" ("Letters to a Painter," 1904) and "Die Farbenfibel" ("The Color Primer," 1916). His work in color theory was influenced by that of Albert Henry Munsell, and in turn influenced Paul Kleeand members of De Stijl, including Piet Mondrian. [John Gage, "Color and Culture: Practice and Meaning from Antiquity to Abstraction", Boston, Little, Brown and Co., 1993; pp. 247– 8, 257– 60.] He was also interested in the international languagemovement, first learning Esperanto, then later becoming an Idist. [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=5kNB5YmeNj4C&pg=PA123&lpg=PA123&dq=ostwald+esperantist+-wikipedia.org&source=web&ots=kydPg7j_ih&sig=mKm5g44FW8CRPx0OifMW-XzSdvY "The Esperanto Movement" By Peter Glover Forster] ]
He was a of the directors of the Die Brücke institute in München.
On April 24, 1880 Ostwald married Helene von Reyher (1854 – 1946), with whom he had five children:
* Grete (born 1882 in Riga; died 1960 in
* Wolfgang (born 1883 in Riga; died 1943 in
* Elisabeth (born 1884 in Riga; died 1968 in Großbothen)
* Walter (born 1886 in Riga; died 1958 in
Freiburg im Breisgau)
* Carl Otto (born 1890 in Leipzig; died 1958 in Leipzig)
In 1887, he moved to
Leipzigwhere he worked for the rest of his life. Arthur Noyeswas one of his students, as was Willis Rodney Whitney.Ostwald died in a hospital in Leipzig on April 4, 1932, and was buried at his house in Großbothen, near Leipzig.
Ostwald dilution law
Power law fluid
Timeline of hydrogen technologies
* Patrick Coffey, Cathedrals of Science: The Personalities and Rivalries That Made Modern Chemistry, Oxford University Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-19-532134-0
* [http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/1909/ostwald-lecture.html Nobel Lecture] "On Catalysis" from Nobelprize.org website
* [http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/1909/ostwald-bio.html Biography] Biography from Nobelprize.org website
* [http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A%22Ostwald%2C%20Wilhelm%2C%201853-1932%22 Works] at the
* " [http://dbhs.wvusd.k12.ca.us/webdocs/Mole/Origin-of-Mole.html The Origin of the Word 'Mole'] ". ChemTeam.
* [http://home.arcor.de/wilhelm-ostwald/ Landsitz Energie Grossbothen/Saxony] Ostwald and his country seat "Energie" (in English)
* [http://www.iupac.org/publications/ci/2004/2601/1_holden.html#45 History of the International Committee on Atomic Weights]
NAME= Ostwald, Wilhelm
SHORT DESCRIPTION= German physical chemist and Nobel laureate
DATE OF BIRTH= 1853-09-02
PLACE OF BIRTH=
DATE OF DEATH= 1932-04-04
PLACE OF DEATH=
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Wilhelm Ostwald — Friedrich Wilhelm Ostwald (letón: Vilhelms Ostvalds; 2 de septiembre de 1853, Riga (Letonia) 3 de abril de 1932, Grossbothen (Alemania)) fue un químico, profesor universitario y filósofo alemán, premio Nobel de Química en 1909. Wilhelm Ostwald … Wikipedia Español
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Wilhelm Ostwald — noun German chemist (1853 1932) • Syn: ↑Ostwald • Instance Hypernyms: ↑chemist … Useful english dictionary
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