Svante Auguste Arrhenius (1859-1927)


Swedish chemist was born in Wijk, near Upsala, in February 19th 1859, and died in Stockholm, in October 2nd 1927.

Arrhenius attended school in Upsala, where he graduated, in 1881. Later, he went to Stockholm to study under Eric Edlund's orientation, who tried to discourage him of Chemistry. In 1884, his thesis was accepted with minimal enthusiasm, although the development of his dissertation had granted him the Nobel Prize of Chemistry in 1903.

It was due to Wilhelm Ostwald, a physical-chemist, that Arrhenius was accepted. After a visit of Ostwald to Upsala, Arrhenius worked for one year in his laboratory in Riga. In 1887, the classic theory electrolytic dissociation was almost complete, and was published in the first volume of the Zeit-schrift für Physikalische Chemie. According to this theory, perhaps as important as the discovery of radio by Madame Curie, the molecules of acids, bases and salts in aqueous solution "unfold" in ions eventually with different electrical charges. Even so, Arrhenius was victim of great opposition and exposed to ridicule by the international scientific community.

However, the German chemist J. H. Van Hoff joined Arrhenius and Ostwald. Arrhenius went to Amsterdam to work with Van Hoff, and later went to Leipzig, with Ostwald, to continue his studies in this revolutionary hypothesis.

From 1887 to 1902, he was Principal of the University of Stockholm; from 1891 to 1895, was lecturer; and from 1895 to 1902, was professor in the same University. In 1905, accepted was invited to director of the Nobel Institute of Chemistry and Physics in Experimentalfältet, near Stockholm.

His Research in the field of biology chemistry, mainly in the field of toxins, were of great importance. He developed the theory of luminous pressure. He also became interested in astronomical problems, especially the possibility of life on Mars.