Adolf von Baeyer

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Adolf von Baeyer, 1893

Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Adolf (since 1885 Ritter von ) Baeyer [ ˈbaiɐ ] (born October 31, 1835 in Berlin , † August 20, 1917 in Starnberg ) was a German chemist .

Adolf Baeyer developed the first indigo synthesis, synthesized phenolphthalein and fluorescein for the first time, and pioneered the alizarin synthesis. In 1905 he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his services to "the development of organic chemistry and the chemical industry through his work on organic dyes and hydroaromatic compounds".


Adolf Baeyer was a son of the officer and geodesist Johann Jacob Baeyer and Eugenie Hitzig, daughter of the publisher and writer Julius Eduard Hitzig . The godparents were the writer Adelbert von Chamisso and the astronomer Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel .

After attending the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Gymnasium in Berlin, he first studied mathematics and physics at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Berlin , then chemistry with Robert Bunsen at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg . He received his doctorate in 1858 with Friedrich Kekulé with a dissertation De arsenici cum methylo conjunctionibus ( About methylarsine compounds ). In 1859 he became a private lecturer at the Friedrich Wilhelms University in Berlin, but followed Kekulé to Ghent for his further research. In 1860 Baeyer completed his habilitation in Berlin and took on a teaching position in organic chemistry at the industrial institute in Berlin . In 1866 he became an associate professor at the Friedrich Wilhelms University in Berlin .

Winter semester 1877/78 at the University of Munich

In 1867 he was one of the founders of the German Chemical Society in Berlin, which published the journal "Reports of the German Chemical Society" in Berlin as a newsletter. AW Hofmann won the election as the first board member in 1868, ahead of Baeyer, by a very small margin . In the years 1871, 1881, 1893 and 1903, however, he was elected to their executive committee with a majority.

From 1872 he was professor of chemistry at the University of Strasbourg , from 1875 in Munich as the successor to Justus von Liebig , where a new laboratory was built according to his specifications. From 1887 to 1917, like Justus von Liebig (between 1852 and 1873), he was a member of the Munich casual society .

Between 1870 and 1900 there were discussions in the Society of German Chemists about the nature and content of chemistry studies . The chemical industry wanted standardized learning and examination regulations in Germany. The content of the chemistry course should take greater account of the needs of the chemical industry. On the other hand, Adolf von Baeyer, along with Wilhelm Ostwald and AW Hofmann, advocated internal university examinations and purposeless research. Von Baeyer believed that science could only flourish independently of external, economic influences.

From 1868 von Baeyer was married to Adelheid (called Lida) Bendemann (1847–1910), with whom he had three children: Eugenie (1869–1952) married the chemist Oskar Piloty , a student of Baeyers; Hans (1875–1941) became an orthopedist and Otto (1877–1946) a physicist. Von Baeyer died in Starnberg in 1917 and was buried in the Munich forest cemetery.

Scientific work

Around 1860 Baeyer received preparations of pseudo uric acid , uric acid and alloxan from Adolf Schlieper . Baeyer synthesized a number of different alloxan derivatives and was able to determine their constitution. In 1864 Baeyer discovered barbituric acid , which he determined chemically. Based on Baeyer's work in his textbook (5th edition) in 1868, Adolph Strecker had given the structures of alloxan, barbituric acid and hydantoin . So far, these compounds were only produced by degradation reactions, Baeyer synthesized hydantoin from urea. Eduard Grimaux then developed further syntheses for allantoin and barbituric acid. In 1867 Adolf Baeyer had synthesized acetylcholine .

Indigo synthesis from o-nitrobenzaldehyde and acetone

At the beginning of his synthesis of indigo , Baeyer recognized the similarity between isatin and alloxan. He obtained the indole from oxyindole by reduction with zinc dust . With Emmerling, Baeyer has now developed a synthesis of indole from nitrocinnamic acid with potassium hydroxide and iron filings.

Baeyer published a first structural proposal for isatin, the oxidation product of indigo, which was then corrected by Kekulé.

In 1878, Baeyer and Adolph Emmerling obtained isatin by reducing o-nitrophenylacetic acid via an oxyindole intermediate. This process was not yet favorable because of the side reactions. An improved synthesis of indigo was carried out a little later by Baeyer starting from o -nitropropiolic acid. He had this process patented and assigned the patent to the Badische Anilin- und Sodafabrik (BASF) for industrial production. However, the production costs were too high compared to natural dyes, so that this synthetic route had to be abandoned. Baeyer and Viggo Beutner Drewsen later developed an industrially insignificant indigo synthesis from nitrobenzaldehyde. It was not until 1900 that Karl Heumann developed an economical indigo synthesis.

In 1883 Baeyer succeeded in determining the correct structure of indigo.


Another economically important natural dye at that time was alizarin , which Baeyer's assistants Carl Graebe and Liebermann reduced to anthracene using zinc dust . They have now developed a new synthesis of anthraquinone from anthracene with potassium dichromate and sulfuric acid. By treating the anthraquinone with bromine at 100 ° C and subsequent treatment with potassium hydroxide, the alizarin could also be synthesized. Baeyer and Carlo clarified the position of the hydroxyl groups in alizarin.


Baeyer also discovered the group of triphenylmethane dyes . By heating phthalic anhydride with phenol , phenolphthalein was formed , the structure of which was clarified. With resorcinol he received the fluorescein , the tetrabromo derivative eosin of which Heinrich Caro brought on the market at BASF.

In 1872 he first described the polycondensation of phenol and formaldehyde ( phenoplast ).

With his colleague Victor Villiger , von Baeyer examined the constitution of the terpenes . Other achievements were the Baeyer diarylmethane synthesis , the Baeyer oxindole synthesis and the Baeyer pyridine synthesis .

Adolf von Baeyer identified the test tube as the most important tool for chemists.

Memberships and honors

Official Nobel Prize Photo (1905)

Adolf von Baeyer was appointed to the Bavarian Academy of Sciences (1877), the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen (1879), the Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences (1884), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1884), as a foreign member in the Royal Society (1885), the Académie des sciences (1886), the Russian Academy of Sciences (1892), the National Academy of Sciences (1898), the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1900) and the American Philosophical Society (1910) .

Since 1911, the Adolf von Baeyer Medal has been awarded by the Association of German Chemists and later by the Society of German Chemists.

In 2009 the Baeyer lunar crater was named after him.

Scientific namesake


LMU Munich - Adolf von Baeyer - Monument in front of the Willstätter extension in Arcisstrasse 1; today in the LMU Munich-Großhadern
  • Günther Bugge: The book of the great chemists. Verlag Chemie GmbH, Weinheim 1974, p. 321 ff.
  • Carl Graebe: History of Organic Chemistry. Julius Springer Publishing House, Berlin 1920.
  • Karl Schmorl: Adolf von Baeyer (= great natural scientist. 10). Scientific publishing company, Stuttgart 1952.
  • Friedrich Klemm:  Baeyer, Adolf Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Ritter von. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 1, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1953, ISBN 3-428-00182-6 , pp. 534-536 ( digitized version ).

Individual evidence

  1. Relationship with the Hitzig and Bessel families
  2. ^ Karl Schmorl: Adolf von Baeyer. Scientific publishing company, Stuttgart 1952, p. 6.
  3. Jürgen Hamel , Ernst Buschmann: Friedrich Wilhelm Bessels and Johann Jacob Baeyer's cooperation in the "Degree measurement in East Prussia" 1830-1838. Frankfurt am Main 1996, p. 9.
  4. Annalen der Chemie und Pharmacie 103 , 178 (1857) .
  5. Annalen der Chemie und Pharmacie 105 , 265 (1858) Annalen der Chemie und Pharmacie 107 , 257 (1858) .
  6. Annalen der Chemie und Pharmacie 114 , 156 (1860) .
  7. Preliminary note on the hydantoin, Annals of Chemistry and Pharmacy 117 , 178 (1861) .
  8. ^ First edition of the reports of the German Chemical Society with the result of the election of the board of directors and the company's statutes .
  9. Informal Society: One Hundred and Fifty Years Informal Society Munich 1837–1987 , University Printing and Publishing House Dr. C. Wolf and Son KG, Munich 1987, 159 pages.
  10. ^ Hans-Werner Schütt : On the job description of the chemist in the Wilhelminian age . In: Eberhard Schmauderer (Hrsg.): The chemist in the course of time . Verlag Chemie, 1973, p. 292 ff .
  11. Relatives Baeyer – Bendemann
  12. ^ Adolf von Baeyer - Biographical. Nobel Foundation , accessed on July 14, 2019 .
  13. Grave of the von Baeyer family in the Munich forest cemetery (Grabfeld 13, location , pictures )
  14. Annalen der Chemie und Pharmacie 127 , 1, 199 (1863)
  15. ^ Otto Westphal , Theodor Wieland , Heinrich Huebschmann: life regulator. Of hormones, vitamins, ferments and other active ingredients. Societäts-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1941 (= Frankfurter Bücher. Research and Life. Volume 1), p. 34.
  16. ^ Reports of the German Chemical Society 2 , 679 (1869)
  17. ^ Reports of the German Chemical Society 2 , 748 (1869)
  18. ^ Reports of the German Chemical Society 11 , 582, 1228, 1296 (1878)
  19. ^ Reports of the German Chemical Society 13 , 2254 (1880)
  20. Patent DE 11857 ​​from March 19, 1880
  21. ^ Reports of the German Chemical Society 15 , 2856 (1882)
  22. Reports of the German Chemical Society 23 , 3043 (1890)
  23. Reports of the German Chemical Society 16 , 2188 (1883), there page 2204
  24. ^ Reports of the German Chemical Society 7 , 968 (1874)
  25. Reports of the German Chemical Society 12 , 642 (1879)
  26. ^ Reports of the German Chemical Society 4 , 555 (1871)
  27. ^ Reports of the German Chemical Society 5 , 280, 1094 (1872)
  28. Member entry by Adolf Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Ritter von Baeyer at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences , accessed on January 10, 2017.
  29. ^ Members of the previous academies. Adolf Ritter von Baeyer. Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences , accessed on February 17, 2015 .
  30. ^ Members of the American Academy. Listed by election year, 1850–1899 ( PDF ). Retrieved September 24, 2015
  31. ^ Entry on Baeyer, Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Adolf von (1835–1917) in the archive of the Royal Society , London
  32. ^ List of members since 1666: Letter B. Académie des sciences, accessed on September 15, 2019 (French).
  33. ^ Foreign members of the Russian Academy of Sciences since 1724: Baeyer, Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Adolf. Russian Academy of Sciences, accessed August 29, 2019 (in Russian).

Web links

Commons : Adolf von Baeyer  - Collection of images, videos and audio files