Friedrich Konrad Beilstein
Friedrich Konrad Beilstein (17 February 1838 – 18 October 1906),
Russian name "Бейльштейн, Фёдор Фёдорович",
was a chemist and founder of the famous Handbuch der organischen
Chemie (Handbook of Organic Chemistry). The first edition of this
work, published in 1881, covered 1,500 compounds in 2,200 pages. This
handbook is now known as the Beilstein database.
Beilstein was born in
Saint Petersburg in a family of German descent.
Although he mastered the Russian language, he was educated in a German
school. At the age of 15, he left for the University of Heidelberg
where he studied chemistry under the tuition of Robert Bunsen. After
two years he moved to the
University of Munich
University of Munich and became a pupil of
Justus Liebig, but soon returned to Heidelberg. There he acquired an
interest and preference for organic chemistry, which became his major.
For his Ph.D., Beilstein joined
Friedrich Wöhler at the Georg-August
University of Göttingen, receiving his doctorate in February 1858,
two days before his twentieth birthday. To increase his skill and
experience he went to Paris to work with
Adolphe Wurtz and Charles
Friedel. In autumn of 1859, he accepted an invitation for a post of
laboratory assistant at the
University of Breslau
University of Breslau offered to him by
Carl Jacob Löwig, but soon changed it for Göttingen. There he became
Privatdozent and lectured in organic chemistry. In 1865 he received
the title of "Professor Extraordinarius". In addition, he became
editor of the journal the Zeitschrift für anorganische und allgemeine
His research in that time was focused on the isomerism of the
derivatives of the benzene series. In particular, he discovered the
relations between chlorotoluene and benzyl chloride. In Göttingen,
Beilstein began to collect systematic notes on organic compounds which
finally led to the production of his famous handbook published in
Hamburg. The first edition, which Beilstein compiled single-handedly,
appeared in 1881 in two volumes, and was rapidly exhausted. The second
edition began to appear in 1886 and filled three volumes of larger
size than the first. The third edition was commenced in 1893, and its
four volumes became unwieldy. It was finished in 1900, and has been
supplemented by four large volumes of additions edited by the German
Chemical Society, which became the proprietor of the handbook.
In 1866, Beilstein returned to St. Petersburg where he became
professor of chemistry at the Imperial Technological Institute. There
he continued his research on isomerism of the aromatic series. In
1881, Beilstein became a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a
position associated with a good income, a private dwelling and a
laboratory. Leicester points out that Beilstein favoured the election
of Dmitri Mendeleev, but Mendeleev's candidacy never succeeded.
Shortly after his election Beilstein left professorship for research,
the compilation of his handbook and his favourite hobby, music. He was
also very fond of travelling and spent several months each year in
Europe. Beilstein remained a bachelor all his life, but adopted a
daughter who was his companion in later years. He died suddenly, of
apoplectic attack in 1906.
This article incorporates text from Obituary notices, by Otto N.
Witt (1853–1915), a publication from 1911 now in the public domain
in the United States.
^ a b c d Otto N. Witt (1911). "Obituary notices: Friedrich Konrad
Beilstein, 1838–1906; Emil Erlenmeyer, 1825–1909; Rudolph Fittig,
1835–1910; Hans Heinrich Landolt, 1831–1910; Nikolai
Alexandrovitsch Menschutkin, 1842–1907; Sir Walter Palmer, Bart.,
1858–1910". J. Chem. Soc., Trans. 99: 1646–1668.
^ Leicester, Henry M. (1948). "Mendeleev and the Russian Academy of
Sciences". Journal of Chemical Education. 25 (8): 439–444.
Huntress, Ernest H. (1938). "1938: The One Hundredth Anniversary of
the Birth of
Friedrich Konrad Beilstein
Friedrich Konrad Beilstein (1838 – 1906)". Journal of
Chemical Education. 15 (7): 303–309. doi:10.1021/ed015p303.
Otto Krätz (1970). "Das Portrait: Friedrich Konrad Beilstein
1838–1906". Chemie in unserer Zeit. 4 (4): 115–119.
Richter, Freidrich (1938). "How Beilstein is Made". Journal of
Chemical Education. 15 (7): 310–316. doi:10.1021/ed015p310.
ISNI: 0000 0001 0878 1997
BNF: cb12391889v (data)