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Theodor Curtius

Geheimrat Professor Dr. Julius Wilhelm Theodor Curtius (27 May 1857 — 8 February 1928) was professor of Chemistry at Heidelberg University and elsewhere. He published the Curtius rearrangement in 1890/1894 and also discovered diazoacetic acid, hydrazine and hydrazoic acid.



Theodor Curtius was born in Duisburg in the Ruhr area in Germany. He studied chemistry with Robert Bunsen at Heidelberg University and with Hermann Kolbe at Leipzig University. He received his doctorate in 1882 in Leipzig.

After working from 1884 to 1886 for Adolf von Baeyer at the University of Munich, Curtius became the director of the analytical chemistry department at University of Erlangen until 1889. Then he accepted the chair in Chemistry at the University of Kiel, where he remained very studious, writing numerous articles and publications. In line with this success, Curtius was appointed Geheim Regierungsrat (Privy Councillor) in 1895. After a one-year appointment as the successor of the famous Friedrich Kekulé at Bonn University in 1897, Curtius succeeded Victor Meyer as Professor of Chemistry at his old university in Heidelberg, in 1898, where he remained until his retirement in 1926. He was succeeded by Karl Freudenberg, who wrote Curtius' biography in 1962.[1]

In his free time, he also composed music, sang in concerts, and was an active mountaineer. In 1894 he founded the Kiel section of the Association of German and Austrian Alpinists, which he personally supported with gifts. In his Munich time, he became close friend with alpinist guide Christian Klucker, with whom he made mountaineering hikes for many years after.

Theodor Curtius died in Heidelberg.

Major publications by Curtius

Curtius has written over 300 articles and publications. Several had a significant impact on chemical science.

  • Diazo- und Azoverbindungen der Fettreihe, Barth, Leipzig (1888)
  • Studien mit Hydrazin, Barth, Leipzig, Bd 1,2 (1896), Bd 3,4 (1918)
  • Einwirkung von Basen auf Diazoessigester, Berlin (1911)
  • Die reduktion der aromatische Aldazine und Ketazine, Barth, Leipzig (1912)
  • Hydrazide und Azide der Azidofettsäuren, Berlin (1912)
  • Die Einwirkungen von Hydrazin auf Nitroverbindungen, Barth, Leipzig (1913)
  • Berichte, 1885, 18, 2373
  • Berichte, 1890, 23, 3023
  • J. Prakt. Chem.[2], 1894, 50, 275

Curtius family

The Curtius family is historically from Bremen area. Several other members of the family became of note. See Curtius for further information


  1. ^  Karl Freudenberg, Chemische Berichte, 96 (1963)
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Theodor_Curtius". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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