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Martin Heinrich Klaproth

Martin Heinrich KlaprothBorn: 1-Dec-1743
Birthplace: Wernigerode, Brandenburg, Germany
Died: 1-Jan-1817
Location of death: Berlin, Germany
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Chemist

Nationality: Germany
Executive summary: Discovered uranium, zirconium, titanium

German chemist, born at Wernigerode on the 1st of December 1743. During a large portion of his life he followed the profession of an apothecary. After acting as assistant in pharmacies at Quedlinburg, Hanover, Berlin and Danzig successively he came to Berlin on the death of Valentin Rose the elder in 1771 as manager of his business, and in 1780 he started an establishment on his own account in the same city, where from 1782 he was pharmaceutical assessor of the Ober-Collegium Medicum. In 1787 he was appointed lecturer in chemistry to the Royal Artillery, and when the university was founded in 1810 he was selected to be the professor of chemistry. He died in Berlin on the 1st of January 1817. Klaproth was the leading chemist of his time in Germany. An exact and conscientious worker, he did much to improve and systematize the processes of analytical chemistry and mineralogy, and his appreciation of the value of quantitative methods led him to become one of the earliest adherents of the Lavoisierian doctrines outside France. He was the first to discover uranium, zirconium and titanium, and to characterize them as distinct elements, though he did not obtain any of them in the pure metallic state; and he elucidated the composition of numerous substances until then imperfectly known, including compounds of the then newly recognized elements: tellurium, strontium, cerium and chromium. His papers, over 200 in number, were collected by himself in Beiträge zur chemischen Kenntniss der Mineralkörper (5 vols., 1795-1810) and Chemische Abhandlungen gemischten Inhalts (1815). He also published a Chemisches Wörterbuch (1807-10).

Wife: Christiane Sophie Lehmann (m. 1780)
Son: Heinrich Julius Klaproth

    Professor: University of Berlin (1810-17)



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