Ira Remsen

Topics: Johns Hopkins University, Ira Remsen, Chemistry Pages: 1 (300 words) Published: April 1, 2014


Ira Remsen
Ira Remsen was a chemist who made many discoveries and was the second president of Johns Hopkins University. Remsen attended the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York where he earned his M.D in 1867 to please his parents. After graduation he decided to move to Germany in pursuit of his true passion, which was chemistry. In Germany he attended the University of Gottingen, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1870. In 1875 Remsen returned to the United States and became a professor at Williams College. This is where he wrote his book “Theoretical Chemistry” which led him the Johns Hopkins University. At Johns Hopkins University Remsen founded the department of chemistry and the American Chemical Journal.

It was not until 1879 the Remsen made his greatest discovery. This discovery actually came from a complete accident. One evening after working in the laboratory Remsen was eating rolls at dinner, he noticed that the rolls tasted initially sweet but then bitter. His wife claimed that she did not taste any difference, so Remsen decided to taste his fingers and noticed that the bitter taste must have been from a chemical in the lab. The next day he went to the lab and began tasting chemicals. He soon discovered that the taste from the rolls was the oxidation of o-toluenesulfonamide. He named the substance saccharin. Saccharine today is used as an artificial sweetener. He and his partner published the finding in 1880. In 1901 Remsen was appointed the president of Johns Hopkins, where he proceeded to found a School of Engineering and helped establish the school as a research university. In 1912 he stepped down as president and retired to Carmel, California. In 1923 he was awarded the Priestley medal. He died on March 4, 1927. Works Cited

"Ira Remsen." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 20 Aug. 2013. Web. 12 Sept. 2013.

Cited: "Ira Remsen." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 20 Aug. 2013. Web. 12 Sept. 2013.
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