Carl W. Scheele, Pharmacist-Chemist

Carl W. Scheele, Pharmacist-Chemist

Author: George Urdang and Ernst Stieb
Publisher: American Institute of the History of Pharmacy
Year Published: 1958, 2010
Slides: 20
AIHP#: ST05
Price: $20.00 ($12.00 for members)

Summary: The life and work of an 18th-century pharmacist who became one of the great chemists of all time.

Abstract: On December ninth or nineteenth 1742 – the exact date is disputed – Carl Wilhelm Scheele was born. On the twenty-first of May 1786 he died. Between these dates lies one of the most decisive periods of political and scientific history. As to political history, the idea of democracy grew, more or less violently, into the realm of reality. As to scientific history, the esoteric discussion of the abstract was replaced by the democratic search for the concrete. Theories were not to be imposed upon the facts any more, but to be derived from them. This general situation made the work of Scheele especially important. Speculation meant nothing to him. The discovery and honest presentation of facts meant everything. He was one of the rare empirical investigators whose special kind of genius puts the right questions to the right subjects and obtains the most surprising results in the most simple way. Nothing in the early life of Carl Wilhelm Scheele indicated his later greatness. He was born in Stralsund (Pomerania), the seventh of the eleven children of a brewer.

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