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Born June 28, 1825, in Wehen, near Wiesbaden; died Jan. 22, 1909, in Aschaffenburg. German organic chemist.
A student of J. von Liebig’s, Erlenmeyer graduated from the University of Giessen in 1851. He was a professor at the University of Heidelburg from 1863 to 1868 and at the Polytechnikum in Munich from 1868 to 1883. He became a member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences in 1873.
In 1865, Erlenmeyer obtained isobutyric acid, and in 1868 he synthesized guanidine. In 1880, independently of A. P. El’tekov, he established the spontaneous conversion of enols into isomeric aldehydes and ketones (seeELTEKOV RULE), and in 1866 he proposed the structural formula of naphthalene. Erlenmeyer studied the pinacol rearrangement in 1881. He established the structure of many organic compounds, mainly alcohols and carboxylic acids, and he synthesized several α-amino acids, including tyrosine (1883). Erlenmeyer introduced the use of the Erlenmeyer flask and the gas furnace into organic elemental analysis.
REFERENCESGuia, M. Istoriia khimii [2nd ed.]. Moscow, 1975. (Translated from Italian.)
Bykov, G. V. Istoriia organicheskoi khimii: Otkrylie vazhneishikh organicheskikh soedinenii. Moscow, 1978.