What happens when potassium iodide is added to a disulphide?

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Adolf von Baeyer

Baeyer is a German chemist who synthesised indigo, the stuff that is used to make your jeans blue in colour. He won the Nobel Prize for his work in organic chemistry and with synthetic dyes

Early Years

Born in October 1835, he came from a family that had a background in natural sciences and literature. Baeyer was the oldest of five children. His father served in the Prussian army conducting experiments related to the shape of the earth. While young Baeyer, a boy of just 12, was dreaming about chemistry and its elements. His early experiments lead him to discover a new double salt of copper.

Early Studies

During his early years, Baeyer studied mathematics and physics at the University of Berlin. He went on to study chemistry with Robert Bunsen in Heidelberg. Two years later, he joined the laboratory of German chemist Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz. Here, he studied the field of organic chemistry. He would go on to become a lecturer at the Berlin Trade Academy in 1860 and a professor at both the University of Strasbourg (1871) and the University of Munich.


At Munich, he started his laboratory, which would become the training ground for a number of other famous chemistry scientists in the years ahead.

Research

One of Baeyer’s first researches was in Uric acid. This helped him discover Barbituric acid. Barbiturates were manufactured from this basic compound as a sleeping drug. It was his thesis on Barbituric acid that would make him eligible to be a university teacher. 


In 1865, Baeyer started his research on Indigo. He was fascinated by this dye since his youth. Baeyer discovered the structure of Indigo. His researches even lead to the discovery of Indole and the partial synthesis of Indigotin. The use of Indigo dye in the legendary blue jeans made his name immortal as the creator of the jeans blue colour.

In 1871, Baeyer discovered Phenolphthalein, which was used to test the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. His other interesting discovery was that of Fluorescein, a dye that glows under ultraviolet light. It’s today being used by forensic investigators to detect latent bloodstains.

His other interesting discovery was that of Fluorescein, a dye that glows under ultraviolet light. It’s today being used by forensic investigators to detect latent bloodstains.


One of his other notable contributions to the field of chemistry was the Baeyer strain theory of carbon rings. This theory helped to explain why it was more common to find carbon rings of five or six atoms than carbon rings having less number of atoms. This was an important discovery, as it is one of the founding blocks of studies in Biochemistry.
 

Baeyer is remembered as a scientist who was known for his experimental focus. His approach to experiments was always to see how materials behave and not to prove a preconceived notion.
 

Tags :     Famous Scientists     Phenolphthalein     Prussian army     copper     Stradonitz     Kekulé     Barbituric acid    


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