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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/419

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SKETCH OF AUGUST KEKULE.

capital school to encourage independent thought. The wish was expressed that I should stay in England and become a technologist, but I was too much attached to home. I wished to teach in a German university. But where? In order to get acquainted with the circumstances at several universities, I became a traveling student. In this capacity I came, among other universities, to Bonn. Here there was no chemist of eminence, and hence there were no prospects. Nowhere did there seem so much promise and so great a future as at Heidelberg. I could ask no help of Bunsen. 'I can do nothing for you,' he said, 'at least not openly. I will not stand in your way, but more I can not promise.' I fitted up a small private laboratory in the principal street of Heidelberg at the house of a corn merchant—Gross, by name—a single room with an adjoining kitchen. I took a few pupils, among whom was Baeyer. In our little kitchen I finished my work on fulminate of silver, while Baeyer carried out the researches, which subsequently became famous, on cacodyl. That the walls were coated thick with arsenious acid, and that silver fulminate is explosive, we took no thought about. After two years and a half I received a call to Ghent as ordinary professor. There I stayed nine years, and had to lecture in French. With me to Ghent came Baeyer. Through the kindness of the then Prime Minister of Belgium, Rogier, I obtained the means to establish a small laboratory. I had there with me a number of students, among whom I may name Baeyer, Hübner, Ladenburg, Wichelhaus, Linnemann, Radzizewski. There was not so much a systematic course of instruction as a free and pleasant academic intercourse. After nine years' work I received the call to Bonn. Professor Kekulée concluded his address with some account of his work at Bonn, and of the great attention he had always received from his pupils. For a full account of Kekulé's scientific career and achievements, we are indebted to the memorial address made by President Landelt to the German Chemical Society on the occasion of his death, of which we translate the more important passages from the Berichte:

"The works which Kekulé has left behind him belong, as we all know, to the bases of all chemistry. His teachings have so passed into our flesh and blood that it seems almost superfluous to remind a circle of professional chemists of them. I shall be able to present only in the most general outlines this evening the immense influence which the dead master has exercised upon science; a complete view of all his labors is a subject for a biography, which we must wait for.

"Kekulé's scientific work began in 1854, with the discovery of thiacetic acid, by which he at once separated from the old school of chemistry that was still prevailing, and, founding a new one, revealed