The Info List - Leopold Gmelin

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LEOPOLD GMELIN (2 August 1788 – 13 April 1853) was a German chemist . Gmelin was professor at the University of Heidelberg
among other things, he worked on the red prussiate and created Gmelin\'s test . Gmelin and his wife, portraits by Jakob Schlesinger , 1820 German postal stamp featuring Gmelin


* 1 Life * 2 Work * 3 Literature * 4 External links


Gmelin was a son of the physician, botanist and chemist Johann Friedrich Gmelin and his wife Rosine Schott. Due to his family he early came in contact with medicine and the natural sciences, in 1804 he attended the chemical lectures of his father. In the same year Gmelin moved to Tübingen to work in the family pharmacy, he also studied at the University of Tübingen among other relatives like Ferdinand Gottlieb Gmelin ( a cousin ) and Carl Friedrich Kielmeyer ( husband of a cousin ). Supported by Kielmeyer, Gmelin moved to the University of Göttingen in 1805 and later he worked as assistant in the laboratory of Friedrich Stromeyer , by whom he successfully passed his exams in 1809.

Leopold Gmelin
Leopold Gmelin
returned to Tübingen and again heard the lectures of Ferdinand Gottlieb Gmelin and Carl Friedrich Kielmeyer . In February 1811 Gmelin clashed with the medical student Gutike, according to an insult he challenged him to a duel, without serious injuries. Because duels were forbidden among students the incident was kept a secret at first, he nevertheless came to light. On March 10 Gmelin fled and went to Joseph Franz von Jacquin at the University of Vienna
University of Vienna
. Focus of his research was the _Black pigment of oxen and calves eyes_, outcome of this work was also the subject of Gmelins dissertation . In 1812 he received his doctorate in Göttingen in absentia. Until 1813 Gmelin went on an extensive study trip through Italy. After his return, he began to work as a Privatdozent at the Heidelberg
University since the winter semester of 1813/14, at first he worked on his Habilitation in Göttingen. On 26 September of the following year he was appointed associate professor in Heidelberg.

In the fall of 1814, he went on another educational trip to Paris
to study at the Sorbonne
, he remained there until the spring of 1815. Together with his cousin, Christian Gottlob Gmelin he made the acquaintance of René Just Haüy , Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac , Louis Jacques Thénard and Louis Nicolas Vauquelin .

1816 Gmelin married Louise in Heidelberg-Kirchheim , a daughter of the Kirchheimer pastor Johann Conrad Maurer, the lawyer Georg Ludwig von Maurer became his brother-in-law. Together they had three daughters and one son, including Auguste, the future wife of the physician Theodor von Dusch .

As the chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth
Martin Heinrich Klaproth
died in Berlin
in 1817, Gmelin should actually succeed him. However, he refused and became full Professor of Chemistry
at the Heidelberg
University . There, a close cooperation with Friedrich Tiedemann evolved with time. The two published "The digestion after tests" in 1826 and established the basis of the physiological chemistry . In the field of digestive chemistry Gmelin later discovered more components of bile and introduced Gmelin\'s test . When Friedrich Wöhler worked on complex cyanogen compounds in 1822, Gmelin assisted him and discovered the _Red prussiate _.

From 1833 to 1838 Gmelin owned a paper mill in the north of Heidelberg
situated Schriesheim , he had taken it over in the hope of profit. However, the work in the mill showed to be very time and money consuming and at the expense of his academic activity.

In 1817 the first volume of Gmelins Handbook of Chemistry
was published. Till 1843 it was grown in the fourth edition up to 9 volumes. In this edition Gmelin included the Atomtheory and devoted much more space to the increasingly important organic chemistry. The terms Ester
and Ketone
were introduced by Gmelin. Until his death Gmelin worked on the fifth edition of the handbook, which he has made himself worthy of the chemical information and documentation. He also established the basis for the Gmelin system , which later was named after him, for unambiguous classification of inorganic substances.

At the age of 60 Gmelin suffered a first stroke , another in August 1850. In both strokes the right half of his body was hit, he was able to recover from the paralysis, but remained debilitated. In the spring of 1851 Gmelin applied for his retirement, which was granted him a few months later. In the two following years he suffered increasingly from the effects of a brain illness, at nearly 65 years Leopold Gmelin
Leopold Gmelin
died on 13 April 1853 in Heidelberg
and was buried at the Mountain Cemetery in Heidelberg. The grave complex is located in the department E. There also rests his wife Luise Gmelin and more family members. Leopold Gmelin's grave on the Mountain Cemetery in Heidelberg
in the Dept. E


In his works Leopold Gmelin
Leopold Gmelin
dealt with physiology , mineralogy and chemistry . His experimental work was marked by his very thorough and comprehensive way of working; also some writing talent is attributed to him.

Gmelin's first physiological work was his dissertation on the black pigment of oxen's and calves' eyes, whose _coloring principle_ he tried to fathom. Despite the simplest chemical means he could describe the properties of the pigment and recognized the carbon rightly as the cause of staining. Gmelin's most important physiological work was the 1826 released _digestion by experiments_, which he made together with Friedrich Tiedemann . The work, which also described many new working techniques, contained groundbreaking insights into the gastric juice, in which they found hydrochloric acid , and bile, in which Gmelin and Tiedemann among others discovered cholesterol and taurine . Introduced by Gmelin, Gmelin\'s test enabled the detection of bile constituents in the urine of people suffering from jaundice . Furthermore, Gmelin and Tiedemann delivered a new, more refined view of the absorption of nutrients through the gastrointestinal tract; they were the founders of modern physiology.

The mineralogical works of Gmelin were analyses of various minerals , such as the Hauyne with which he made his habilitation in Göttingen, or the Laumontite and the Cordierite . In addition, Gmelin also analysed mineral waters and in 1825 published the work _try of a new chemical mineral system_, since he knew that the time's usual division on outer or physical characteristics was inadequate. Leopold Gmelin's mineral system was taken largely critical among experts, but the basic idea of an order based on the chemical composition proved to be useful.

Gmelin released the _Handbook of theoretical chemistry_, which was continued as the _Gmelin Handbook of Inorganic Chemistry
_ until 1997 in about 800 volumes by the Gmelin Institute , and it is continued by the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker as a database. The manual, even during his lifetime his most important work, was initially intended to be a textbook, which should unite the whole chemical knowledge at that time. Due to the enormous increase in knowledge and the associated development of the handbook into a reference book, Gmelin published a compact textbook of chemistry in 1844. His chemical achievements include the discovery of the Croconic acid ; he thus had synthesised the first cyclic organic compound, and the previously mentioned discovery of the red prussiate.

Leopold Gmelin
Leopold Gmelin
besides also developed a forerunner of the Periodic table and improved chemical equipment.

* _Chemische Untersuchung des schwarzen Pigments der Ochsen- und Kälberaugen, nebst einigen physiologischen Bemerkungen über dasselbe_, Dissertation, Göttingen 1812, in Latein. Schweiggers Journ. 10, S. 507–547, 1814 * _Oryktognostische und chemische Beobachtungen über den Haüyn und einige mit ihm vorkommende Fossilien, nebst geognostischen Bemerkungen über die Berge des alten Latiums_, Schweiggers Journ. 15 S. 1-41, 1815; Ann. Phil. Thomson 4, S. 115-122; 193-199, 1814 * Leopold Gmelin, Friedrich Wöhler : _Neue Cyanverbindungen_, Schweiggers Journ. 36 S. 230–235, 1822 * _Versuch eines neuen chemischen Mineralsystems_, Taschenbuch gesammte Mineralog. 19, I S. 322-334; 418-474; 490-507, 1825, II S. 33-77; 97-148, 1825 * Friedrich Tiedemann , Leopold Gmelin: _Die Verdauung nach Versuchen_, Heidelberg
und Leipzig 1826, 2 Bde. * _Lehrbuch der Chemie zum Gebrauche bei Vorlesungen auf Universitäten, in Militärschulen, polytechnischen Anstalten, Realschulen etc. sowie zum Selbstunterrichte_, Heidelberg, Universitätsbuchhandlung Karl Winter, 1844


* Claude K. Deischer: _Gmelin, Leopold_. In: _Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography_. Band 5, Charles Scribner’s Sons, Detroit 2008, S. 429–432 (online). * August Hirsch (1879), "Gmelin, Leopold", _Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB)_ (in German), 9, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 272–273 * Erich Pietsch (1964), "Gmelin, Leopold", _Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB)_ (in German), 6, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 480–481 ; (full text online) * Friedrich Rosmäsler: _Gallerie der vorzüglichsten Ärzte und Naturforscher Deutschlands_. Perthes, Gotha 1831 (2 Bde.; darin Dauderts Gemälde). * Bernd Wöbke (1988). "Das Portrait: Leopold Gmelin
Leopold Gmelin
(1788–1853)". _Chemie in unserer Zeit_. 22 (6): 208–216. doi :10.1002/ciuz.19880220605 . * Petra Renate Stumm: _ Leopold Gmelin