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Per Theodor Cleve

Born: 10-Feb-1840
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
Died: 18-Jun-1905
Location of death: Stockholm, Sweden
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Chemist, Geologist

Nationality: Sweden
Executive summary: Discovered holmium (Ho) and thulium (Tm)

In 1874 Swedish chemist Per Theodor Cleve showed that didymium, then considered an element, was actually comprised of two elements, neodymium and praseodymium. In 1879 he discovered two previously unknown elements, which he named holmium (from the Latin for his home town, Stockholm), and thulium (from Thule, an ancient name for Scandinavia). In the same year his research showed that the properties and position in the periodic table of the element scandium matched the hypothetical element "eka­boron" predicted by Dmitri Mendeleev. In 1883 he provided the first scientific description of Nitzschia seriata, a species of plankton. He also studied botany, geology, and hydrography; developed a system for dating glacial and post-glacial deposits from the fossils record; and was the namesake (but not discoverer) of the radioactive mineral cleveite.

A strong believer in women's equality, Cleve's students included the historian Ellen Fries, who became Sweden's first female PhD in 1883. Eleven years later his daughter, botanist Astrid Cleve (1875-1968), became the first Swedish woman to earn a doctorate in science. His son-in-law and grandson were the Nobel laureates Hans von Euler-Chelpin and Ulf von Euler. Another of his students was the Nobel Prizewinner, Svante Arrhenius. Cleve was the 13th child of a Swedish merchant.

Wife: Alma Öhbom (teacher, m. 1874)
Daughter: Astrid M. Cleve von Euler (botanist, m. Hans von Euler-Chelpin, b. 1875, d. 1968)

    High School: Stockholm Gymnasium, Stockholm, Sweden (1858)
    University: BS Chemistry, University of Uppsala (1863)
    University: PhD Chemistry, University of Uppsala (1868)
    Teacher: Chemistry, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm (1870-74)
    Teacher: Chemistry, University of Uppsala (1874-79)
    Professor: Agricultural Chemistry, University of Uppsala (1879-)

    Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 1871
    Davy Medal 1894
    Swedish Ancestry

Author of books:
Kemiskt Handlexicon (Chemical Handbook) (1883, non-fiction)

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