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The Rise of Organic Chemistry in Russia: Kazan’ and St. Petersburg

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Part of the SpringerBriefs in Molecular Science book series (BRIESFHISTCHEM,volume 4)

Abstract

During the early part of the nineteenth century, two major locations were largely responsible for the progress of organic chemistry in Russia: St. Petersburg, which had been a center of higher learning since the founding of the Academy of Sciences in 1725, and Kazan’ (Fig. 3.1), a city on the Volga River. The emergence of organic chemistry in St. Petersburg is not particularly surprising, given the resources available in the capital and the existence of the Academy of Sciences there, but the same cannot be said for Kazan’, a city some 600 miles east of Moscow on the Volga River. Kazan’ is now the capital of Tatarstan, in the Russian Federation, but at the turn of the nineteenth century, it was simply an eastern outpost of European Russia. In fact, when Kazan’ was awarded a university in 1804 as a result of the 1803 decree of Tsar Aleksandr I—the same decree that established universities in the Baltic-Russian city of Dorpat (now Tartu, in Estonia), St. Petersburg, and the Ukrainian-Russian city of Khar’kov (now Kharkiv), and that also expanded Moscow University—the response of the local population was tepid, at best.

Keywords

  • Anthranilic Acid
  • Quinic Acid
  • Tertiary Alcohol
  • Methylene Iodide
  • Carboxylic Acid Chloride

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Fig. 3.1
Fig. 3.2
Fig. 3.3

Notes

  1. 1.

    Fritzsche was born in Neustadt, and studied under Mitscherlich from 1829–1831. He took his Ph.D. in botany from Berlin in 1833, but his time as an assistant to Mitscherlich steered him to a career in chemistry. He moved to Russia in 1834, where his services were retained by the Russian government. His career was entirely in organic chemistry, with much of his work being concerned with heterocyclic aromatic nitrogen compounds (murexide, uric acid, and indigo), and in the hydrocarbons of coal tar, from which he isolated chrysene, pure antharacene, and retene (7-isopropyl-1-methylphenanthrene). In 1838 he was appointed to the Academy of Sciences as Adjunct, and became a full Academician in 1852; after completion of the laboratory facilities at the Academy in 1866, he shared facilities with Zinin. He always enjoyed excellent health, but in 1869 he became afflicted with a stroke that left one side paralyzed, and robbed him of his once fluent speech and excellent memory. In 1870, he returned to Germany to seek help for his condition, to no avail. For more biographical details, see: (a) Harcourt AV (1872) Anniversary Meeting, March 30th, 1872. J Chem Soc 25:341–364 (esp. 345–348); (b) Sheibley FE (1943) Carl Julius Fritzsche and the Discovery of Anthranilic Acid, 1841. J Chem Educ 20:115–117.

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Lewis, D.E. (2012). The Rise of Organic Chemistry in Russia: Kazan’ and St. Petersburg. In: Early Russian Organic Chemists and Their Legacy. SpringerBriefs in Molecular Science(), vol 4. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-28219-5_3

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