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Carl Schorlemmer

Carl Schorlemmer
BornSeptember 30 1834
Darmstadt, Germany
DiedJune 27 1892 (aged 57)
Manchester, England
ResidenceGermany, England
Nationality German
InstitutionsOwens College now University of Manchester
Alma materUniversity of Heidelberg,
Victoria University of Manchester,
Academic advisor  Robert Wilhelm Bunsen,
Henry Enfield Roscoe

Carl Schorlemmer was born as son of a joiner in Darmstadt in 1834. He became a trained pharmacist and worked in a pharmacy in Heidelberg. After attending some lectures of Robert Wilhelm Bunsen he started studying chemistry in Heidelberg and Gießen. He became demonstrator at Owens College in Manchester with Henry Enfield Roscoe. From 1874 on he was professor for organic chemistry in Manchester.

Schorlemmer was a friend of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels who asked him for advice in science questions. Friedrich Engels published an obituary[1] for Schorlemmer in the Vorwärts, the central organ of the Social Democratic Party of Germany. Engels says Schorlemmer spent his holidays regularly in London with Marx and Engels when he did not visit Germany.

Schorlemmer became a member of the Royal Society in the UK in 1871.[2]

Schorlemmer wrote several books about organic chemistry, the most important one being the Treatise on Chemistry (1874), which he wrote with Henry Roscoe. Schorlemmer is considered to have made an essential contribution to the history of chemistry as a science in his later works, culminating in his book The Rise and Development of Organic Chemistry.

Engels claimed in his obituary that Schorlemmer was open about his allegiance to the Communist cause, and Schorlemmer is sometimes referred to as the "red" chemist. Engels also says that, "What we know today about paraffins, we owe mainly to Schorlemmer... Thus he became one the joint founders of today's scientific organic chemistry." Engels claims that Schorlemmer was unusual in that he held the German philosopher Hegel in high regard, at a time when Hegel was "much despised".


  1. ^ Friedrich Engels - Carl Schorlemmer orbituary (in German)
  2. ^ cf for instance, Some remarks on the history of Merseburg accessed 7-10-07
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Carl_Schorlemmer". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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