Dobereiner, Johann Wolfgang (1780-1849), a German chemist. He discovered furfural, an oily liquid used in making synthetic rubber, in refining gasoline, and as a bleaching agent. His discovery of the catalytic action of platinum led to his invention of the Dobereiner lamp, a fire-starting device widely used before the invention of matches. It consists of finely divided platinum whose catalytic action ignites a jet of hydrogen gas that is passed over it. Dobereiner also did early work in grouping chemical elements by triads (threes), a step in the development of the Periodic Table. Dbereiner was born in Bavaria. He was professor of chemistry and pharmacy at the University of Jena after 1810.
One was a celebrated author, the other a famed physicist. What the two shared was a public exposure of their religious beliefs. Big E had an on-again, off-again relationship with God, while C.S. was an avowed atheist during his early years.
He may have been born in Brooklyn, but Carl Sagan was gunning for the stars as soon as he arrived in this world. Get to know the scientist whose infectious delight in the universe still holds us spellbound.