Gerhardt, Charles Frédéric

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Gerhardt, Charles Frédéric

(shärl frādārēk` zhārär`), 1816–56, French chemist, b. Strasbourg. He revived the theory of acid radicals, which he called the theory of residues, and did valuable research in organic chemistry, especially on the anhydrides of organic acids. He contributed to the development of the atomic weight theory.

Gerhardt, Charles Frédéric


Born Aug. 21, 1816, in Strasbourg; died there Aug. 19, 1856. French chemist; corresponding member of the Paris Academy of Sciences (1856). Gerhardt studied at the Karlsruhe Polytechnic and the Leipzig Higher Commercial School, worked under J. von Liebig (1835-37), and attended lectures by J. B. Dumas (1839-41). He was a professor at the University of Montpellier (1841). In 1848 he moved to Paris, where in 1851 he founded the School of Practical Chemistry. He became a professor of chemistry at the University of Strasbourg in 1855.

In his theoretical works, Gerhardt delimited the notion of the molecule, equivalent, and atom and promoted the introduction of Avogadro’s law into chemistry. He developed unitary theory, which regarded the molecule as a single system formed by the union of atoms, and he proposed a more complete table of atomic weights. He gave a classification of organic compounds based on his theory of types. He considered all chemical reactions to be a double exchange decom-position between residues of the reacting molecules. The best known of his experimental works is the discovery of new classes of organic compounds, anilides (1845), and anhydrides of monobasic acids (1852) and the investigation of complex compounds of platinum [Gerhardt’s salt, Pt(NH3)2-C14], palladium, and mercury. Many Russian chemists worked under Gerhardt.


Traité de chimie organique, vols. 1-4. Paris, 1854-60.
In Russian translation:
Vvedenie k izucheniiu khimii po unitarnoi sisteme. St. Petersburg, 1859. Second edition: St. Petersburg, 1865.


Faershtein, M. G. SharV Zherar: 1816-1856. Moscow, 1968.