|Happy Birthday Mr. Mendeleev!|
Dmitri Mendeleev was born in the Siberian town of Tobolsk on Feb. 8, 1834. Dmitri was the youngest of 17 children born to Ivan Pavlovich and Maria Dmitrievna Mendeleev. Dmitriís father was the principal of a gymnasium and his mother was described as a brilliant and beautiful woman who came from a prominent Siberian family and was self-educated. In 1847, Dmitriís father went blind from cataracts and was forced to retire on an inadequate pension. To support the family, Dmitriís mother opened a glass factory which burned to the ground in 1848, the same year in which Dmitriís father died.
By the age of 14, Dmitri showed great promise in science and his mother was determined to see that he receive a good education. In 1850, Dmitri and his mother walked to Moscow, almost 1,000 miles away, so that Dmitri could apply to University. When Dmitri did not get accepted to University in Moscow, the two walked to St. Petersburg where Dmitri was admitted to the Institute of Pedagogy at the age of 16 on full scholarship. That same year Dmitriís mother died at the age of 59.
Dmitri continued his studies; however he fell ill for a long period of time in his third year. Dmitri finished University in 1854 with a degree as a math and science teacher; however he remained ill with what doctors thought was tuberculosis. Shortly after graduation, he moved to the Crimean Peninsula where he taught gymnasium in Simferopol. There Dmitri finally recovered from his illness and bore no signs of tuberculosis. In 1856, he returned to Petersburg University where he finished his masterís degree, and was invited to teach at Technical Institute.
Following his masters program, Dmitri focused his life on teaching and research. He was a good teacher, devoted to his work and to his students. In 1859, Mendeleev was assigned by the Minister of Public Instruction to go abroad to study and develop scientific and technological innovations. Between 1859 and 1861 he studied the densities of gases with Regnault in Paris and the workings of the spectroscope with Kirchoff in Heidelberg. He also pursued studies of capillary action and surface tension that led to his theory of "absolute boiling point," later known as critical temperature.
Following his trip abroad, Dmitri settled down to a life of teaching and research in St. Petersburg. In 1863 he was named Professor of Chemistry at the Technological Institute and in 1866 he became Professor at the University and was awarded the title of Doctor of Science for his dissertation "On the Combinations of Water with Alcohol".
In 1863, with the heavy influence of his sister Olga, Dmitri married Feozva Nikitchna Lascheva.
Mendeleev authored over 250 publications. One of his earliest and most famous publications was a book titled Organic Chemistry, which was published in 1861 when he was 27 years old. This book won the Domidov Prize and put Mendeleev at the forefront of Russian chemical education. He also authored a textbook titled Principles of Chemistry in 1868. Mendeleev never lost sight of the importance of education throughout his career.
Dmitri Mendeleevís greatest accomplishment, however, was the stating of the Periodic Law and the
On January 20, 1907 at the age of 73, Mendeleev passed away while listening to a reading of Jules Verne's Journey to the North Pole.
If you would like to read more about Dmitri Mendeleev or the modern periodic table of elements, visit our Periodic Table module.
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