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The Oesper Collections in the History of Chemistry, Portrait Collection, University of Cincinnati
August Wilhelm Hofmann, 1818-1892

August Wilhelm Hofmann was born in 1818 in Giessen Germany and obtained his doctorate at Giessen in 1841 for work done under the direction of Justus von Liebig. In 1843 he became Liebig's assistant and in 1845, at the request of Queen Victoria's consort, Prince Albert, he left Germany to head the Royal College of Chemistry in London, a position which he held until 1865, when he became Professor of Chemistry at the University of Berlin, where he remained until his death in 1892. Considered one of the founders of type theory, Hofmann is also known for his discovery of the Hofmann degradation reaction and his preparation of numerous organic dyes, including fuschine, and the rose aniline derivatives known as the "Hofmann violets."

In 1865 Hofmann published his introductory lectures at the Royal College of Chemistry in which he introduced a number of novel demonstrations illustrating the volumetric analysis and synthesis of simple compounds¹. In 1869 he described his apparatus in greater detail in a lecture before the German Chemical Society, of which he was the founder and first president², and by the 1890s much of this apparatus was being sold by laboratory supply houses under the rubric of "Hofmann Lecture Apparatus."

  1. Hofmann, August Wilhelm von, 1818-1892. Introduction to Modern Chemistry: Experimental and Theoretic. London: Walton & Maberley, 1865. Oesper Collection Number: QD33 .H6 1865
  2. Hofmann, August Wilhelm von, 1818-1892. "Eine Vorlesung über Vorlesungsversuch." Berichte der Deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft 2 (1869): 237-268. Oesper Collection Number: QD1 .D4
  • Works about Hofmann in the Oesper Collections
     
  • Works by Hofmann in the Oesper Collections

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