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Jöns Jakob Berzelius

Jöns Jakob Berzelius(1779-1848) is considered one of the fathers of modern chemistry. His major contribution was the law of constant proportions.

"The major intellectual synthesis of Berzelius's career was "dualism"—a line of thinking that could be traced back to the original electrochemical investigations both he and Davy had made."<ref>Chemical Heritage Foundation 10/06/09 http://www.chemheritage.org/classroom/chemach/electrochem/berzelius.html</ref>

Early Life

Jöns Jakob Berzelius (August 20, 1779- August 7, 1848) was a Swedish chemist. He was born into a well-educated Swedish family, yet he had a difficult childhood. His father died when he was four. Later his mother remarried and soon afterwards she too died.<ref> 10/06/09 [1]</ref> This chemist’s dream was to be a clergyman yet he fell in love with chemistry. In 1835 he married Elisabeth Poppius, the 24-year old daughter of a Swedish cabinet minister. <ref> 10/06/09[2]</ref>


He spent his chemistry career studying electrochemistry. Berzelius discovered three elements: cerium in 1803, selenium in 1817, and thorium in 1823. Through several of his experiments he determined most atomic weights of the elements that were known during his time.<ref> 10/06/09 [3]</ref><ref> 10/06/09[4]</ref>


He was influenced by John Dalton’s atomic theories, Gay-Lassac’s law of combining volumes, and Humphry Davy.<ref> 10/06/09 [5]</ref><ref> 10/06/09[6]</ref>He was influenced by John Dalton’s atomic theories, Gay-Lassac’s law of combining volumes, and Humphry Davy. Berzelius’ students discovered lithium vanadium and several rare earths.<ref> 10/06/09 [7]</ref>He wrote several textbooks and papers about chemistry and his experiments.

Law of constant proportions

Law of constant proportions was stated by Joseph Louis Proust. The law states different samples of a substance contain elements in the same amounts.

His best known contribution is his law of constant proportions. It states that elements in inorganic substances are bound together I definite proportions by weight.<ref> 10/06/09[8]</ref>

Later Life

Jöns Jakob Berzelius was a Permanent Secretary of Sciences in Stockholm from 1818-1848. The Berzelius Medal was established by the Royal Swedish Academy and it is awarded every 50 years in commemoration of Jöns Jakob Berzelius.<ref>Chemical Heritage Foundation 10/06/09 http://www.chemheritage.org/classroom/chemach/electrochem/berzelius.html</ref>


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