Karl Wilhelm Gottlob Kastner

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Karl Wilhelm Gottlob Kastner (born October 31, 1783 in Greifenberg in Pomerania ; † July 13, 1857 in Erlangen ) was a German chemist and professor of physics and chemistry at several universities in Germany.


Karl Wilhelm Gottlob Kastner was born on October 31, 1783 in Greifenberg in Pomerania . His father, Johann Friedrich Gottlob Kastner, was a teacher of religion, German language, history, geography, mathematics and natural history as well as a Protestant pastor in addition to his work as the rector of the city school. After his father was transferred to Swinoujscie , Kastner began an apprenticeship as a pharmacist there in 1798 with the pharmacist Gustav Benjamin Geisler. In his free time, he carried out various chemical experiments in the pharmacy's laboratory on the reactions of metals with alkalis and acids.

During his apprenticeship, Kastner received an offer as an assistant from the pharmacist Flittner at Salomo's pharmacy in Berlin, which he accepted in the autumn of 1801 and moved to Berlin. In addition to his pharmaceutical work in Berlin, he has already attended lectures. In 1802 he worked for a semester as an assistant to Professor Bourgnet, helping him with experiments in the lectures "Experimental Chemistry" and "Experimental Physics". Since Kastner attached great importance to a practical reference, he accepted an offer from a company in which he dealt with various processes such as B. took care of the dyeing.

After the company ran into financial difficulties, it moved to Neustadt bei Stolpen in 1803. There he took over the administration of the pharmacy from Ernst Friedrich Struve. While he was traveling to Göttingen in 1804 to work as an assistant to the chemistry professor Johann Friedrich Gmelin, a relative cut the financial support he needed so that Kastner had to stop in Jena. There he enrolled at the University of Jena on April 29, 1804 as a student of medicine. During his studies in various natural sciences, he made important contacts in Jena and already gave regular lectures on chemistry. Here, too, thanks to the physician Wilhelm Karl Friedrich Suckow, he had the opportunity to use a laboratory until he received his doctorate on November 5, 1804 under Johann Friedrich August Göttling . In his dissertation he dealt with "The behavior of substances at different temperatures".

In 1805 he started his career as a professor when he was appointed private lecturer in the philosophy faculty. He gave lectures on universal chemistry, the physiology of inorganic bodies and the history of chemistry. In the same year he became an associate professor of chemistry at the University of Heidelberg . At first he gave lectures on experimental chemistry and “Physiology of Inorganic Nature”, later also agricultural chemistry, physics, mineralogy, plant physiology and “Encyclopedia of the Entire Natural Sciences”. In 1806 he became a member of the Freemason lodge "Carl zur Gute Hope" in Heidelberg. After he had been appointed full professor at the University of Heidelberg in 1810 and several attempts to improve chemical training failed, Kastner left Heidelberg in 1812 and went to the University of Halle as a full professor of physics and chemistry . He interrupted his activities there from October 1813 to October 1814 in order to begin his voluntary military service. To this end, he supervised four Russian and Prussian hospitals in Halle and also worked as a doctor. After his return he edited several magazines and his first works were published. On December 28, 1816 he became a member of the "Imperial Leopoldine-Carolinian German Academy of Natural Scientists" Leopoldina .

On October 9, 1818, he became one of the first full professors at the University of Bonn , where on October 21, 1818, he was appointed dean of the Faculty of Philosophy. Due to the political situation, Kastner left Bonn and taught from 1821 to 1857 as a professor of chemistry and physics at the University of Erlangen . Here, too, he gave numerous lectures on physics and chemistry, with his greater interest in chemistry. Justus von Liebig learned from him. In the years 1834, 1838, 1842, 1846 and 1853 he was elected Dean of the Erlangen Philosophical Faculty. In addition to his teaching activities in Erlangen, Kastner was a member of the administrative committee. He also wrote various textbooks and scientific papers.

Due to his poor health, Kastner had to resign most of the physics tasks in 1857. He was also released from the management of the chemical laboratory. On July 13, 1857, Karl Wilhelm Gottlob Kastner died after a long illness.

His nephew was the landscape painter Bernhard Fries (1820–1879); his brother-in-law, his father, the banker, factory owner and painting collector Christian Adam Fries (1766–1847).



  • Contributions to the establishment of a scientific chemistry . 1807
  • Outline of chemistry for the use of his lecture . 1807
  • Experimental physics floor plan . 1810 digitized
  • Concise chemical dictionary . 1813
  • Encyclopaedic overview of the entire natural sciences . 1813
  • Introduction to modern chemistry . 1814
  • Comparative overview of the system of chemistry . 1821
  • Basics of physics and chemistry . 1821, 2nd edition 1833
  • Observationes de electromagnetismo . 1821
  • Theory of Polytechnochemistry . 1827-1828
  • Manual of Meteorology . 3 volumes, Erlangen 1823-30
  • On the polytechnology of our time . 1836
  • To the total study of nature . 3 parts, Stuttgart 1849
  • Handbook of Applied Natural Science . 1849
  • Chemistry to explain experimental physics . 1850