Born May 8, 1855, in Prague; died Feb. 15, 1935, in Prague. Czechoslovak chemist and professor (1897). Studied chemistry at the Prague Technical School with F. Stolba. He lectured in chemistry at the University of Prague from 1882 until his retirement in 1925. Beginning in the 1870’s he worked on materials that supported the validity and the great value of D. I. Mendeleev’s periodic law. In 1881 he began a lively correspondence with Mendeleev, and a strong personal friendship quickly arose between them.
By demonstrating that beryllium in its compounds is bivalent and not trivalent, Brauner confirmed the accuracy of Mendeleev’s correction of the atomic weight of beryllium according to the periodic law. Brauner’s studies on the rare-earth elements and the determinations of their atomic weights were of particular importance. Mendeleev remarked that Brauner was one of the first chemists to confirm the conclusions from the periodic law with regard to cerium. In 1900, Brauner proposed that the rare-earth elements be placed in a distinctive “interperiodic” group immediately after lanthanum. His fundamental idea was corroborated by the development of the science of atomic structure.
Mendeleev had a high opinion of Brauner as a scientist and regarded him as “one of the true supporters of the periodic law.” At Mendeleev’s request, Brauner wrote the large section “Rare-Earth Elements” for the seventh edition of Osnovy khimii (Principles of Chemistry). Brauner promoted the development of the knowledge of chemistry in his own country, participated in the organization of the Chemistry Institute at the University of Prague, and created a school of Czech chemists. He was a member of the Vienna and Kraków academies of sciences, as well as many scientific societies (honorary member of the Russian Physical Chemistry Society and the Polish Chemical Society).
REFERENCESMendeleev, D. I. Osnovy khimii, 8th ed. St. Petersburg, 1906. (See Index.)
Kedrov, B. M., and T. N. Chentsova. Brauner—spodvizhnik Mendeleeva. Moscow, 1955.