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Born Apr. 26, 1834, in Frankfurt am Main; died Sept. 8, 1915, in Florence. Italian chemist. German by nationality.
A student of F. Wöhler, Schiff was a privatdocent at the University of Bern (1857). He later emigrated to Italy, where he worked in Florence from 1863 to 1876 and from 1879 to 1915. From 1876 to 1879 he was a professor at the University of Turin.
Schiff’s main works were devoted to organic chemistry. Schiff discovered the condensation reaction of aromatic amines with aldehydes (1864) and investigated the products of the reaction, which have come to be called Schiff bases. He synthesized populin (1868) and digallic, or tannic, acid (1873). He proposed qualitative reactions for aldehydes (with fuchsin sulfurous acid; called the Schiff reaction), urea, and pentosanes. Schiff invented the azotometer (or nitrometer), a device for determining nitrogen according to the method proposed by J. B. Dumas.