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Ludwig Gattermann

Ludwig Gattermann
BornApril 20 1860(1860-04-20)
Goslar, Germany
DiedJune 20 1920 (aged 60)
Freiburg, Germany
InstitutionsUniversity of Göttingen,
University of Heidelberg,
University of Freiburg
Alma materUniversity of Göttingen
Academic advisor  Hans Hübner,
Victor Meyer
Known forGattermann-Koch reaction,

Ludwig Gattermann (20 April, 1860 – 20 June, 1920) was a German chemist who significant contributor to both organic and inorganic chemistry.


Early life

Ludwig Gatterman was born on April, 20 1860 in Goslar, an old mining town noth of the Harz montains. Two of his three sibling died at young age.

During his time in the Realschule he started experimenting. In 1880, he wanted to study at the University of Leipzig, but he had to complete his compulsatory military service before he could start. He started his studies in 1881. After one year with Robert Bunsen at the University of Leipzig, he visited Liebermann for one semester at the University of Berlin to improve his skills in organic chemistry. Gattermann chose the University of Göttingen, which was close to Goslar for his further studies.

He started his thesis under the supervision of Hans Hübner, who died in 1884, and finished his Ph.D. in 1885. As successor of Hans Hübner, Victor Meyer came to Göttingen and some renown chemists worked as assistants in his group, like Rudolf Leuckart, Emil Knoevenagel, Traugott Sandmeyer and Karl von Auwers.

His private life in Heidelberg and Freiburg was overshadowed by his problematic 25 year long marriage which was divorced. Gattermann had one daughter who cared for him during his illness which caused his death on June 20, 1920.



During his time as assistant of Victor Meyer in Göttingen victor meyer established a cooperation with the dyes company of Friedr. Bayer & Co. latter known as Bayer AG and especially with the cief chemist Carl Duisberg started in 1888 worked perfectly for 32 years and gave Gatterman an insight into industrial chemistry and provided him with an access to chemical compounds produced by Beyer.


He followed Victor Meyer, who succeded Robert Bunsen, to the University of Heidelberg in 1889.

Gattermann conducted the practical education of the students in the laboratory for several years, till the suicide of Victor Meyer. He stayed even with the succesor of Meyer, Theodor Curtius, for two further years until 1900 in Heidelberg .


Gattermann became professor at the University of Freiburg in 1900. He improved the educational situation and was mainly involved in organisation and teaching. The results of his personal research get sparse and most of the publications come from his PhD students.


His dangerous analysis of the highly explosive nitrogen trichloride in 1887 showed his excellent abilities in the laboratory. B21,751,1888 His nickname "der Heros" was coined after an english article title a hero of science reporting about nitrogen trichloride.

The production of boron and silicon by the reaction with magnesium yielded amorphous powders , which were more reactive and easier to handle than the substances.

The improved the Sandmeyer reaction by using metalic copper as catalyst.[1] and the discovery of reaction of hydrocyanic acid with an aromatic compound now called the Gatterman reaction[2] were acchieved during his time in Heidelberg.

He also conducted research in inorganic chemistry. Gatterman synthesized and characterized Si2Cl6 , Si3Cl8 and also the selfigniting P2H4.

His fearless nature towards the highly toxic hydrocyanic acid can be best be shown by a quot from him: If you are used to handle the substance its no worse than handle alcohol.

His Book

The Book about Practical work in the laboratory became a standart book for organic synthesis at almost every German University. In some Universities the organic course is still called Gattermann.


  • E. Fromm (1920). "Ludwig Gattermann". Zeitschrift für Angewandte Chemie 33 (60): 185. doi:10.1002/ange.19200336002.
  • Paul Jacobson (1921). "Nekrologe: Ludwig Gattermann". Berichte der deutschen chemischen Gesellschaft 54 (6): A115-A141. doi:10.1002/cber.19210540628.
  1. ^ Ludwig Gattermann (1890). "Untersuchungen über Diazoverbindungen". Berichte der deutschen chemischen Gesellschaft 17 (1): 1218-1228. doi:10.1002/cber.189002301199.
  2. ^ L. Gattermann, W. Berchelmann (1898). "Synthese aromatischer Oxyaldehyde". Berichte der deutschen chemischen Gesellschaft 31 (2): 1765-1769. doi:10.1002/cber.18980310281.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ludwig_Gattermann". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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