Henri Moissan

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Henri Moissan

Ferdinand Frederic Henri Moissan (born September 28, 1852 in Paris , † February 20, 1907 there ) was a French chemist . Moissan received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1906 for the study and isolation of the element fluorine and the introduction of the electric furnace named after him.


Moissan was a French chemist. First he worked at the natural science museum in the laboratory for soil culture, in 1883 became head of practical work and in 1886 professor at the high school of pharmacy, also professor of chemistry at the University of Paris. He worked on the cyano compounds , the oxides of iron, the chromium compounds, the fluorine compounds, the carbides , silicides , hydrates, etc.

Moissan became world famous when, on June 26, 1886, after several attempts, he succeeded in electrochemically obtaining pure elemental fluorine from anhydrous hydrofluoric acid / potassium fluoride in a platinum apparatus at minus 50 ° Celsius. He later replaced the device with a copper device that produced five liters of fluorine per hour. The discovery led to the award of the prestigious "Prix La Caze" by the French Academy of Sciences , of which he became a member in 1891. He was also the first to produce pure boron . In 1893 he produced small, artificial diamonds .

In 1904 Moissan discovered a hitherto unknown mineral in the meteorite crater Barringer Crater , Arizona , whose properties are quite close to those of diamond and is considered the second hardest naturally occurring material. It was named moissanite after its discoverer .

In 1892 Moissan showed that the electric furnace he developed was suitable for the production of carbides, most of which were previously unknown. (The Canadian Thomas Willson in the USA also succeeded in producing calcium carbide independently of Moissan .) With the help of the furnace, some elements with high purity could now be obtained and also separated from alloys.

1902 him the detection of the successful silicon - hydrogen - compound monosilane by the acidic decomposition ( proteolysis ) of lithium silicide .

Moissan was awarded the Davy Medal in 1896 and elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1898 . In 1906 Moissan received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry “in recognition of the great merit which he has earned in the service of science for his investigation and isolation of the element fluorine and for the introduction of the electric furnace named after him” . In 1976 a moon crater was named after him.


  • About the oxydes métalliques de la famille du fer. Gauthier-Villars, Paris 1880, ( digitized ).
  • Série du cyanogène. Parent, Paris 1882, ( digitized version ).
  • Research on isolation du fluor. In: Annales de chimie et de physique . Série 6, Vol. 12, 1887, pp. 472-537 , (also as a special reprint. Gauthier-Villars, Paris 1887).
  • Le four électrique. Steinheil, Paris 1897, ( digitized ; German: The electric furnace. Authorized German edition translated by Theodor Zettel. Krayn, Berlin 1897, ( digitized ); addenda to: The electric furnace. Authorized German edition by Theodor Zettel. Krayn, Berlin 1900, ( Digitized version )).
  • Le fluor et ses composés. Steinheil, Paris 1900, (German: The fluorine and its connections. Authorized German edition by Theodor Zettel. Krayn, Berlin 1900).
  • as editor: Traité de chimie minérale. 2 volumes. Masson, Paris 1904–1906, (digitized: Vol. 1 , Vol. 2 ).
  • Classification des corps simples. In: Traité de chimie minérale. Volume 1. Masson, Paris 1904, pp. 1–38, (also as a special print. Masson, Paris 1904; German: Division of the elements. Authorized German edition translated by Theodor Zettel. Krayn, Berlin 1904).

Web links

Commons : Henri Moissan  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ List of members since 1666: Letter M. Académie des sciences, accessed on January 24, 2020 (French).
  2. ^ Henri Moissan: Nouvelles recherches sur la météorite de Canon Diabolo. In: Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l'Académie des sciences . Vol. 139, 1904, pp. 773-786 .
  3. ^ Henri Moissan in the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature of the IAU (WGPSN) / USGS