Probably a large part of the people who will read these lines will have seen, studied or worked with the periodic table, which contains the various elements ordered by their atomic weight and their valence. If today we see this painting as something which, although complex, represents a logical arrangement and takes its veracity for granted, the truth is that its creation is very recent at a time that was originally little taken into account. .
The author of this painting is the famous chemist Dimitri Mendeleev, from the biography we will do a brief review in this article.
The biography of Dmitry Mendeleev
Dmitry Mendeleev, full name was Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleev, was born on February 8, 1834 of our Gregorian calendar in Tobolsk, Siberia. Born into a large family, he was the youngest of seventeen siblings of school principal Ivan Pavlovich Mendeleev and Mariya Dmitriyevna Kornilevas.
In the same year of his birth, his father lost his job as well as his vision, which led to a somewhat precarious situation for the family. Fortunately, her mother ran a glass factory owned by her family. This aroused a certain curiosity in little Mendeleev, and it is common for his mother to take him to the factory with her.
In this factory I met one of the chemists who worked there, Which would end up generating in the young man (with the influence of an exiled brother-in-law) a great interest in scientific subjects.
As for her education in childhood, already in her the young Mendeleev showed some interest in aspects such as mathematics and physics. However, the marks on the other subjects were rather low. Despite this he was able to remove the bachelor from that one then.
The year 1848 will be a difficult year for the young man, because during this period his father died. In addition, during the month of December of the same year, the factory run by his mother suffered a fire which ended in its destruction. The family moved to Moscow because her mother decided to spend her savings on the education of the youngest child in the family.
However, due to his Siberian origin, he was denied access to the university in that city. After that they moved to St. Petersburg, Where, for identical reasons, he was unable to access university. However, he was eventually able to enroll in the Main Pedagogical Institute in the latter city.
When he was around twenty years old, what would become one of the great chemists in history had several health problems, among which the presence of violent coughs sometimes accompanied by blood. It made him think of possible tuberculosis, but he managed to recover from his suffering (whether or not it was tuberculosis, which is not entirely clear).
He graduated in 1855, dying his mother shortly before, presenting / displaying a thesis on specific volumes. After that, he got a place as a teacher in a Crimean school. However a few months later he moved to the city of Odessa in Ukraine as a teacher in a local high school.
In 1856 he was awarded a scholarship which allowed him to move to Germany, expand his studies at the University of Heidelberg, and even have a laboratory in his own home. At this stage, he was able to meet great personalities in chemistry and physics, such as Kirchhoff or Cannizzaro, and even participate in the International Chemistry Congress in Karlsruhe. He would return later to St. Petersburg.
Professional life and scientific contributions
For the year 1864 he was appointed professor of technology and chemistry at the Technical Institute of St. Petersburg and three years later he held the chair of chemistry at the University of the same city. However, his reformist and liberal-leaning ideas did not appeal to the elite of the time, and he was refused entry to the Imperial Academy of Sciences.
It would be in 1869 when he published the book Principles of Chemistry, in which would formulate its contribution to the most famous science, the periodic table. This table was based on the classification of elements in ascending order according to their atomic mass, establishing an order from lowest to highest and even proposing the existence of undiscovered elements with properties located between two of the already recognized elements.
However, although this is his most recognized contribution, he is not the only one: Mendeleev has worked on subjects as varied as the expansion of liquids, the search and discovery of the critical point and important contributions that have improved the Russian oil industry.
He also made various contributions such as preparing smokeless gunpowder (developing his own formula). However, in 1890 he resigned from the university after a conflict over his support for student protests.
He retired from politics for a time, but then worked as an adviser to the government, including in the Ministry of Finance. In 93, he obtains the direction of the Bureau of weights and measures (Also being a powerful influence in bringing the metric system to Russia). He then explored aspects such as radioactivity (knowing the Curie marriage). He was also part of the team that designed the first icebreaker.
Mendeleev was an internationally recognized figure, to the point of being nominated for the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1906. However, the award went to Henri Moissan.
Other aspects that sparked his interest were the exploration and study of solar eclipses or fertilizer research. In addition, his study of liquids and their combinations would help generate a specific way of making vodka, which gives it its characteristic 40 degrees of alcohol.
Dimitri Mendeleev had a complicated life, not only professionally but also personally. He was forced by one of his sisters to marry in 1862 with Feozva Nikítichna Leschiova, with whom he had a stormy and difficult relationship and from the relationship was born three children (one of whom died). However, nine years later, they went their separate ways.
At this time, in which he had already separated but not yet divorced, he fell in love with Anna Ivanovna Popova, a music student with whom he had a relationship. His wife again refused to grant him the divorce initially, although he granted it four years later.
In 1882 he married Anna Ivanovna, Although the seven years required by law to remarry after their divorce have not yet elapsed. This would generate a great controversy and controversy in the Russian society of the time, being this one considered like bigamy, but it was decided that the punishment would not correspond to the contracting parties but to those who celebrated the marriage. This last marriage was rather happy, four more children were born from their relationship.
Death and inheritance
Dimitri Mendeleev died in Saint Petersburg at the age of 72, on February 2, 1907. His death is associated with influenza, but also it could be associated with the alleged tuberculosis he suffered in his youth. It should also be noted that he suffered considerable vision loss, to the point that he suffered practically from blindness.
His death was a blow to science. However, despite the great relevance of his work, his death did not have a great impact on Russia at the time, possibly due to his liberal and reformist ideas, which did not converge with the ideology of the system in this. that he was living.
His legacy and his vast contribution to science are still relevant today. being its systematization of the different elements object of study and having allowed the discovery of multiple elements over time. There is, in fact, an item called mendelevi in his honor.