Nikolay Beketov


Nikolay Beketov
Nikolay Nikolayevich Beketov

Nikolay Nikolayevich Beketov (Бекетов, Николай Николаевич in Russian) (January 13 [O.S. January 1] 1827—December 13 [O.S. November 30] 1911) was a Russian physical chemist, academician of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1886).

In 1849, Beketov graduated from Kazan University and worked with Nikolay Zinin. In 1855, he became a junior scientific assistant in the Department of Chemistry at Kharkov University. In 1859-1887, Beketov was a professor at the same university. In 1865, he defended his Ph.D. thesis on "Research on the displacement phenomenon in metals" ("Исследования над явлениями вытеснения одних металлов другими"). In 1886, Beketov moved to Saint Petersburg, where he worked at the academic chemical laboratory and taught at the University for Women. In 1890, Beketov delivered lectures on the "Basics of Thermochemistry" at Moscow State University.

Beketov discovered displacement of metals from solutions of their salts by hydrogen under pressure. He also established that magnesium and zinc displaced other metals from their salts under high temperatures. In 1859-1865, Beketov proved that aluminum restored metals from their oxides under high temperatures. Later on, Beketov's experiments served as a starting point for aluminothermy.

Beketov's biggest merit was his contribution into physical chemistry as an independent science. In 1860, he taught a course on "Relations between physical and chemical phenomena" in Kharkov and a course on "Physical Chemistry" in 1865. In 1864, they established a Physical Chemistry Department in Kharkov University at the request of Beketov, where students would conduct research and do practical work.

Beketov's students were Alexander Eltekov, Flavian Flavitsky and others. The poet Alexander Blok was his brother's grandson.



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