Friedrich Wohler, German chemist, c 1850.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Photogravure after a drawing by Hoffman, c 1850. Friedrich Wohler (1800-1882) was a German chemist and the first to synthesize a natural product, urea. In 1828, Wohler succeeded in converting ammonium cyanate, an inorganic compound, into urea, an organic compound, marking the end of the idea of a 'vital force' esential for the chemistry of life. Wohler was also the first to isolate boron and silicon. He preferred teaching to research and was Profesor of Chemistry at Gottingen University in Germany from 1836 until his death in 1882. From a collection of portraits of scientists published by Photographische Gesellschaft, Berlin, c 1910. Dimensions: 460mm x 340mm.