Chemists

Chemists are the scientists who specialize in the field of chemistry. They investigate the chemical nature of substances and how they behave under different conditions to search for new knowledge. Compounds, both organic and inorganic, are examined to determine their chemical and physical properties, composition, structure, and reactivity. Chemists try to decode the details of the chemical molecules and their component atoms. The knowledge gained through research is used to understand the composition and properties of unknown substances, and is used in practical applications in industries. Since chemicals play a vital role in virtually all types of industries, chemists are employed in various industrial establishments, especially those dealing in plastics, medicines, pharmaceuticals, and chemical industries. They also work in research and in university teaching positions. Newer discoveries and findings in the field of chemistry lead to the development of better products, processes and analytical methods. Chemistry is a vast field divided into several overlapping sub-branches: analytical chemistry, biochemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, etc. Chemists primarily work in laboratories and use a variety of techniques in their research like spectroscopy, chromatography, and spectrophotometry. Read on to discover about the life and works of various famous chemists, through their biographies and timelines, from all over the world.
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 1 Marie Curie

Marie Curie.
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: November 7, 1867
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: July 4, 1934
Amongst the most notable scientists of her time, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the sole person to win two Nobel Prize in two different category, and the first woman professor at the University of Paris—Marie Curie’s list of achievements is incredible. She did extensive research in the field of radioactivity and discovered polonium and radium.

 2 Louis Pasteur

Louis Pasteur.
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Famous As: Chemist and Microbiologist
Birthdate: December 27, 1822
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dole, Jura, Franche-Comté, France
Died: September 28, 1895
Considered one of the founders of bacteriology, Louis Pasteur created vaccines for anthrax and rabies, and invented the process of heating food and wine to kill microbes that cause contamination, which was named pasteurization after him. Known as the “father of microbiology,” he also founded the Pasteur Institute in Paris.  

 3 Michael Faraday

Michael Faraday.
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Famous As: Physicist & Chemist
Birthdate: September 22, 1791
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Newington Butts
Died: August 25, 1867

Michael Faraday was an English scientist known for his contribution to the study of electrochemistry and electromagnetism. Considered one of the most influential scientists ever, Faraday's inventions of electromagnetic rotary devices established the basis for electric motor technology. His research also helped understand the concept of the electromagnetic field. Ernest Rutherford called him one of the greatest scientific discoverers ever.

 4 George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver.
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Famous As: Scientist & Inventor
Birthdate: January 1, 1864
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Diamond, Missouri, United States
Died: January 5, 1943
Agricultural scientist George Washington Carver is best remembered for promoting crops that were alternative to cotton, such as peanuts and sweet potatoes. He invented ways to prevent soil depletion and developed scores of products made from peanuts, including paints and cosmetics. He won numerous honors, such as the Spingarn Medal.
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 5 Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel.
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Birthdate: October 21, 1833
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
Died: December 10, 1896

Alfred Nobel was a Swedish chemist, engineer, and inventor. A prolific inventor, he held 355 different patents. Most popular as the inventor of dynamite, he was concerned with how he would be remembered after his death and bequeathed his fortune to the Nobel Prize institution. A wide traveler, he was proficient in several languages.

 6 Dmitri Mendeleev

Dmitri Mendeleev.
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Famous As: Inventor of Periodic Table
Birthdate: February 8, 1834
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tobolsk
Died: February 2, 1907
Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev created the Periodic Law and his version of the Periodic Table of Elements that revolutionized the field of chemistry. His table was independent of German chemist Julius Lothar Meyer’s version of the table. Mendeleev also assisted in the development of the first oil refinery in Russia.
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 7 Ernest Rutherford

Ernest Rutherford.
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Famous As: Physicist, Chemist
Birthdate: August 30, 1871
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brightwater, New Zealand
Died: October 19, 1937

New Zealand physicist Ernest Rutherford is remembered as the father of nuclear physics. His discovery of radioactive half-life and of radon, and his differentiation of alpha and beta radiation, won him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1908. Element 104 was named rutherfordium in his honor.

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 8 Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Franklin.
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: July 25, 1920
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Notting Hill, London, England
Died: April 16, 1958
Chemist and X-ray crystallographer Rosalind Franklin is remembered for her pathbreaking X-ray diffraction studies of DNA, which helped in the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the double helix structure of DNA by Francis Crick, James Watson, and Maurice Wilkins later. She also worked on the molecular structures of viruses. 
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 9 John Dalton

John Dalton.
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Famous As: Chemist, Physicist, Meteorologist
Birthdate: September 6, 1766
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Eaglesfield, Cumberland, England
Died: July 27, 1844

John Dalton was an English chemist, physicist, and meteorologist most famous for introducing the atomic theory into chemistry. He also contributed a lot to the study of color blindness, sometimes referred to as Daltonism in his honor. He was the first scientist to refer to the smallest particle of matter as an “atom.” He was a Quaker and lived modestly. 

 10 Antoine Lavoisier

Antoine Lavoisier.
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: August 26, 1743
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris
Died: May 8, 1794

Antoine Lavoisier was a French chemist and nobleman. He played a crucial role during the chemical revolution of the 18th-century. Widely regarded as the father of modern chemistry, Lavoisier had a major influence on the history of biology as well as the history of chemistry. He also helped build the metric system. 

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 11 Linus Pauling

Linus Pauling.
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Famous As: Chemist, Biochemist
Birthdate: February 28, 1901
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Portland, Oregon, United States
Died: August 19, 1994

Only person to win two unshared Nobel Prizes, Linus Carl Pauling was an American theoretical physical chemist, who received the 1954 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on nature of chemical bond and 1962 Nobel Prize for Peace for his efforts to stop nuclear weapon testing. Also a prolific writer and educator, he has published 1,200 books and papers.  

 12 Fritz Haber

Fritz Haber.
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: December 9, 1868
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Wrocław
Died: January 29, 1934

Fritz Haber was a German chemist who was honored with the prestigious Nobel Prize in Chemistry for inventing the Haber-Bosch process. The process is used widely to synthesize ammonia from hydrogen gas and nitrogen gas. For his pioneering work in weaponizing poisonous gases like chlorine during World War I, Haber is referred to as the father of chemical warfare.

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 13 Robert Boyle

Robert Boyle.
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Famous As: Founder of Modern Chemistry, Boyle's Law
Birthdate: January 25, 1627
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ireland
Died: December 30, 1691

Robert Boyle was an Anglo-Irish chemist, natural philosopher, inventor, and physicist. Regarded as the first modern chemist, Boyle is often counted among the founders of modern chemistry. One of the pioneers of the scientific method, Robert Boyle is also remembered for his books, including The Sceptical Chymist, which is viewed as a keystone book in chemistry.

 14 Humphry Davy

Humphry Davy.
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Famous As: Inventor of Davy Lamp
Birthdate: December 17, 1778
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Penzance, England
Died: May 29, 1829

Best remembered for his invention of the Davy lamp, a safety lamp for miners, Humphry Davy initially aspired to be a doctor but later deviated to chemistry. The Copley Medal winner had co-founded the Zoological Society of London. He also excelled in writing poetry and loved fishing.

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 15 Joseph Priestley

Joseph Priestley.
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Famous As: Discoverer of Oxygen
Birthdate: March 24, 1733
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Birstall
Died: February 6, 1804

Best remembered for his contribution to the chemistry of gases, Joseph Priestley was an English scientist, clergyman, political theorist and educator, who has been credited with discovering oxygen independently, publishing his findings before Carl Wilhelm could. A prolific writer, he has authored 150 works on various subjects including electricity. He also contributed immensely to the advancement of political and religious thoughts.

 16 William Henry Perkin

William Henry Perkin
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: March 12, 1838
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, England
Died: July 14, 1907

William Henry Perkin is best remembered for his chance discovery of the dye mauveine, made of aniline purple. He had apparently discovered the dye while attempting to synthesize quinine. The Royal Medal-winning British chemist also studied salicyl alcohol and flavoring agents and synthesized the first artificial perfume.

 17 Henry Moseley

Henry Moseley.
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: November 23, 1887
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Weymouth, Dorset, England
Died: August 10, 1915

Henry Moseley was an English physicist best known for his development of Moseley's law in X-ray spectra. He made major contributions to the fields of atomic physics, nuclear physics, and quantum physics. He was working at the University of Oxford when World War I broke out, following which he went to volunteer for the Royal Engineers of the British Army. 

 18 Amedeo Avogadro

Amedeo Avogadro.
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Famous As: Chemist and Physicist
Birthdate: August 9, 1776
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Turin, Italy
Died: July 9, 1856

Son of a reputed senator and lawyer in Italy, Amedeo Avogadro was himself a qualified lawyer. However, he later delved into research as a mathematical physicist and is best remembered for laying down the Avogadro’s law, contributing to the molecular theory of gases. The Avogadro constant is named after him.

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 19 Hans Christian Ørsted

Hans Christian Ørsted.
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: August 14, 1777
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rudkøbing
Died: March 9, 1851

Hans Christian Ørsted was a Danish chemist and physicist. He was the first person to discover that electric currents can be used to create magnetic fields. His discovery was the first relationship found between magnetism and electricity. Oersted, the unit of the auxiliary magnetic field H, is named in his honor.

 20 Ahmed Zewail

Ahmed Zewail
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: February 26, 1946
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Damanhour, Egypt
Died: August 2, 2016

 21 Henry Cavendish

Henry Cavendish.
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: October 10, 1731
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Nice
Died: February 24, 1810

English natural philosopher, scientist, and a prominent experimental and theoretical physicist and chemist Henry Cavendish is best-remembered for his discovery of hydrogen and his Cavendish experiment. He first recognized that hydrogen, which he termed inflammable air, is a discrete substance which produces water on combustion. He conducted the Cavendish experiment to measure and produce a value for Earth’s density.

 22 Otto Hahn

Otto Hahn.
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: March 8, 1879
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Frankfurt
Died: July 28, 1968
Nobel Prize-winning German chemist Otto Hahn is remembered for revolutionary discovery of nuclear fission, along with Fritz Strassmann. Born to a glazier, he was pushed to study architecture but chose chemistry instead. He spent his final years grieving the death of his only son in a car accident.
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 23 Frederick Sanger

Frederick Sanger.
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Famous As: Biochemist
Birthdate: August 13, 1918
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rendcomb
Died: November 19, 2013

Frederick Sanger remains one of only two people to have won the Nobel Prize twice in the same category. The British biochemist is remembered for his ground-breaking work on nucleic acids and the insulin molecule. The son of a Quaker medical missionary, Sanger, too, grew up believing in Quakerism.

 24 Svante Arrhenius

Svante Arrhenius.
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Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: February 19, 1859
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vik
Died: October 2, 1927

Svante Arrhenius was a Swedish scientist who became the first Swedish person to win a Nobel Prize when he won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1903. Although he was originally a physicist, Arrhenius is widely accepted as a chemist and is best remembered for co-founding physical chemistry. Stockholm University houses the Arrhenius Labs, which is named in his honor.

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 25 Glenn T. Seaborg

Glen T. Seaborg.
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: April 19, 1912
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ishpeming, Michigan
Died: February 25, 1999

 26 Dorothy Hodgkin

Dorothy Hodgkin.
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Famous As: Biochemist
Birthdate: May 12, 1910
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cairo
Died: July 29, 1994

Dorothy Hodgkin received the 1964 Nobel Prize for mapping the structure of penicillin and Vitamin B12. She is also known for her work on insulin. Beginning her work on structure of an organic compound by using X-ray crystallography as an undergraduate student, she later developed it further and used it to determine the three-dimensional structure of complex organic molecules.

 27 Josiah Willard Gibbs

Josiah Willard Gibbs
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Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: February 11, 1839
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Died: April 28, 1903

 28 Stephanie Kwolek

Stephanie Kwolek.
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: July 31, 1923
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New Kensington
Died: June 18, 2014
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 29 Justus von Liebig

Justus von Liebig
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Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: May 12, 1803
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Darmstadt, Germany
Died: April 18, 1873

 30 William Ramsay

William Ramsay.
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: October 2, 1852
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Glasgow
Died: July 23, 1916

The son of a civil engineer, Nobel Prize-winning Scottish chemist William Ramsay revolutionized science with his pathbreaking discovery of the noble gases, thus forming an entirely new segment of the periodic table. He is also remembered for his long association with UCL. He was knighted for his achievements.

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 31 Robert Bunsen

Robert Bunsen.
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: March 30, 1811
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Göttingen
Died: August 16, 1899

Chemist Robert Bunsen paved the path for spectrum analysis with his discovery that every element emits a light of a particular wavelength. He also co-developed and lent his name to the Bunsen burner. He almost died of arsenic poisoning and lost sight in his right eye in a laboratory explosion.

 32 Jöns Jacob Berzelius

Jöns Jacob Berzelius
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Famous As: Chemist, Non-fiction writer, University teacher
Birthdate: August 20, 1779
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Östergötland
Died: August 7, 1848

 33 Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac

Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac.
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Famous As: Chemist and Physicist
Birthdate: December 6, 1778
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat
Died: May 9, 1850

Known for his pathbreaking Gay-Lussac's Law, French chemist-physicist Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac was also the first, along with his colleague Alexander von Humboldt, to discover that water is composed of one part of oxygen and two parts of hydrogen. His name is one of the 72 that adorn the Eiffel Tower.

 34 August Kekulé

August Kekulé
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: September 7, 1829
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Darmstadt, Germany
Died: July 13, 1896

 35 Retta

Retta
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Famous As: Stand-up Comedian
Birthdate: April 12, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, U.S.

 36 Marina Oswald

Marina Oswald
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Famous As: Pharmacist
Birthdate: July 17, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Severodvinsk Molotovsk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union

 37 George de Hevesy

George de Hevesy
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: August 1, 1885
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Budapest, Austria-Hungary
Died: July 5, 1966

 38 Irène Joliot-Curie

Irène Joliot-Curie.
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: September 12, 1897
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris
Died: March 17, 1956

Marie Curie and Pierre Curie’s daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, herself a brilliant scientist, won the 1935 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with her husband, Joliot-Curie, for discovering artificial radioactivity. She was also one of the first three female French government members. She tragically died of leukemia caused by exposure to radiation.

 39 Albert Hofmann

Albert Hofmann.
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Famous As: The First Person to Synthesize LSD
Birthdate: January 11, 1906
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Baden
Died: April 29, 2008

Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann was the first known person to synthesize the psychedelic effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Interested in science from a young age, he studied chemistry at the University of Zürich. As a chemist, he conducted several significant studies and authored more than 100 scientific articles and books. He was a recipient of the prestigious Scheele Award.

 40 Jerry Buss

Jerry Buss
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Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: January 27, 1933
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Died: February 18, 2013

 41 Owsley Stanley

Owsley Stanley
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Famous As: Chemist, Engineer, Audio engineer
Birthdate: January 19, 1935
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kentucky
Died: March 12, 2011

 42 Alexander Shulgin

Alexander Shulgin
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Famous As: Biochemist
Birthdate: June 17, 1925
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Berkeley, California, United States
Died: June 2, 2014

A pioneer of psychedelic drug synthesis, Alexander Shulgin came to be known as The Godfather of Ecstasy, for reinventing the drug MDMA, or ecstasy, for medical use. The Harvard drop-out, who later studied psychiatry and pharmacology, would often experiment his newly invented drugs on himself, his wife, and his friends.

 43 Friedrich Wöhler

Friedrich Wöhler
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Famous As: German chemist
Birthdate: July 31, 1800
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Eschersheim
Died: September 23, 1882

 44 Charles Macintosh

Charles Macintosh
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Famous As: Chemist, Inventor
Birthdate: December 29, 1766
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Glasgow
Died: July 25, 1843

 45 Joachim Sauer

Joachim Sauer
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Famous As: Chemist, University teacher
Birthdate: April 19, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hosena

 46 Harold Urey

Harold Urey.
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: April 29, 1893
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Walkerton
Died: January 5, 1981

 47 Tu Youyou

Tu Youyou
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Famous As: chemist, pharmacologist, inventor, university teacher
Birthdate: December 30, 1930
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ningbo

Chinese phytochemist and malariologist Tu Youyou is best remembered for her Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the anti-malarial drug qinghaosu, or artemisinin. She is the first Chinese female Nobel laureate. A tuberculosis infection in her younger days had inspired her to step into medicine. She later studied traditional Chinese medicine, too.

 48 Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge

Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: February 8, 1794
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: March 25, 1867

 49 Robert Burns Woodward

Robert Burn Woodworth.
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Famous As: Organic Chemist
Birthdate: April 10, 1917
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died: July 8, 1979

 50 Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff

Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: August 30, 1852
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Died: March 1, 1911
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