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.
He was born exactly 300 years after Galileo died. He has yet to be awarded a Nobel Prize, although he was awarded a guest spot on “The Simpsons.” What else do you know (or not know) about this acclaimed physicist?
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