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 Wilhelm Ostwald

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Wilhelm Ostwald

Original Name Friedrich Wilhelm Ostwald
Birth
Riga, Riga, Riga, Latvia
Death 4 Apr 1932 (aged 78)
Leipzig, Stadtkreis Leipzig, Saxony (Sachsen), Germany
Burial Riga, Riga, Riga, Latvia
Memorial ID 69185596 View Source
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Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Wilhelm Ostwald received notoriety after being awarded the 1909 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which was given, according to the Nobel Prize committee, "in recognition of his work on catalysis and for his investigations into the fundamental principles governing chemical equilibria and rates of reaction." From 1904 he received 20 nominations for the coveted award, with several being his students who had received the Nobel Prize. Born the son of a barrel maker, he studied chemistry at the Dorpat University in Estonia for three years before accepting a position of assistant at the Physics Institute under Professor Arthur von Oettingen and then under Carl Schmidt in the Chemistry Laboratory. In the 20th century, Dorpat University returned to its original name of the University of Tartu. He started his experimental research in 1875. In 1877 he became an unpaid lecturer at Dorpat University, in 1881 received a full Professorship of Chemistry at Polytechnicum in Riga, and in 1887 was invited to became Professor of Physical Chemistry at Leipzig University, remaining there until his retirement in 1906. Three of his more well-known students were Svante Arrhenius, who received the Nobel Prize in 1903, Jacobus Van't Hoff, who received Nobel Prize in 1901 and Walter Nernst, who received the Nobel Prize in 1920. Starting the winter semester of 1904, Ostwald was the first exchange professor at Harvard University in the United States. He became one of the founder of classic physical chemistry. Among his numerous textbooks are “Texbook of General Chemistry” in 1884, “Outline of General Chemistry “ in 1889, and “The Handbook and Mannual for Physicochemical Measurements” in 1893. He was the founder and editor of the professional periodical, “The Journal of Chemistry” until 1922, which would be one of several periodicals he started. He received honorary doctorates from several universities in Germany, Great Britain and the United States and was made an honorary member of learned societies in Germany, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Russia, Great Britain and the United States. In 1899 awarded to him by the King of Saxony, he was made a “Geheimrat,” the rank of the highest officials of the German royal court. After his 1906 retirement to his estate, he continued research especially in colors and published articles on philosophy in several magazines. His estate had a separate building for his laboratory. After World War I, he supported the middle-class pacifist movement, was interested in educational reforms and in monism, taking a stand against the Christian Church's claim to natural science. He married and had five children, with a son, Dr. Karl Wilhelm Wolfgang Ostwald, being known as a lecturer at the University of Leipzig and publishing many articles. He was originally buried on his 17-acre country estate but was later re-interred in the Great Cemetery in Rigia. There is a memorial marker for him and his wife at Wilhelm Ostwald Park, which is on his estate and managed by the Free State of Saxony as a historical monument.

Bio by: Linda Davis


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: sandpipertoo
  • Added: 1 May 2011
  • Find a Grave Memorial 69185596
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/69185596/wilhelm-ostwald : accessed ), memorial page for Wilhelm Ostwald (2 Sep 1853–4 Apr 1932), Find a Grave Memorial ID 69185596, citing Great Cemetery, Riga, Riga, Riga, Latvia ; Maintained by Find A Grave .