Jacobus Henricus Van't Hoff

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  • Topic: Thermodynamics, Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff, Osmotic pressure
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  • Published : April 26, 2013
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Research Essay- Jacobus Henricus Van’t Hoff
Jacobus Henricus Van’t Hoff was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on August 30, 1852. He was the third child in a family of seven children. His father was Jacobus Henricus Van’t Hoff Sr., a physician, and his mother was Alida Kolff Van’t Hoff. From a young age he was interested in science, nature and philosophy and though of Lord Byron as his idol.

Van’t Hoff went against the wishes of his father when he enrolled at Delft University of Technology to study chemistry. He studied there from 1869-1871 completing a 3 year program in just 2 years and obtained a degree of a chemical technologist. During vacation-work at a sugar factory he anticipated having a boring profession as a technologist, and at that point decided to follow a purely scientific career. After that he spent a year at the University of Leiden to study math and chemistry. From 1872-1874 he spent time in Bonn working with A.F> KeKulé, in Paris with A. Wurtz, and in Holland in 1874 where he obtained his doctor’s degree under E.Mulder in Utrecht. In 1876 he became a lecturer on physics at the Veterinary School at Utrecht, and two years later he was chosen professor of chemistry, mineralogy, and geology, in Amsterdam University. After occupying this chair for 18 years he accepted an invitation to go to Berlin as honorary professor in 1896, along with a membership of Royal Russian Academy of Sciences. The main reason for this change was that he was overwhelmed with the burden of having to give elementary lectures, and examine large numbers of students, leaving him no time for his own research work. He now had a salary, laboratory, and at the same time received an honorary professorship in the university so that he could also lecture if he wished. He now had the freedom to do whatever he wished and proposed to devote himself to the study of formation of oceanic salt deposits, with special reference to Strassfurt deposits.

Van’t Hoff acquired most of...
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