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Jacobus Vant-hoff

Picture of Jacobus Vant-hoff

Date of Birth: 08/30/1852

Age: 58

Place of birth: Rotterdam

Nationality: Netherlands

Background

After working briefly in a sugar factory, V.-G. in 1871 he became a student of natural sciences and mathematics faculty of the University of Leiden. But the next year he moved to the University of Bonn to study chemistry under the direction of Friedrich August Kekule. Two years later, the future scientist continued his studies at the University of Paris, where he completed work on his thesis. Back in the Netherlands, he submitted it to the protection of the University of Utrecht.

Early on in the XIX century. French physicist Jean-Baptiste Biot noted that crystalline forms of some chemicals may change the direction of passing through them of polarized light rays. Scientific observations have also shown that certain molecules (called their optical isomers) of the light plane is rotated in a direction opposite to that in which it rotates other molecules, while the first and second molecules are of the same type and consist of the same number of atoms. Observing this phenomenon in 1848, Louis Pasteur hypothesized that these molecules are mirror images of each other and that the atoms of these compounds are arranged in three dimensions.

In 1874, a few months before the thesis defense, V.-G. I published an article on 11 pages titled "Proposal to use in the space of modern structural and chemical formula together with a note about the relationship between the optical rotatory power and chemical structure of organic compounds