Lev Chugaev

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Chugaev, Lev Aleksandrovich


Born Oct. 4 (16), 1873, in Moscow; died Sept. 23,1922, in the city of Griazovets, in what is now Vologda Oblast. Soviet chemist.

After graduating from Moscow University in 1895, Chugaev became head of the chemistry department at the Bacteriological Institute in Moscow. From 1904 to 1908 he was a professor at the Imperial Technical School (renamed the Moscow Higher Technical School in 1917). From 1909 to 1922 he was a professor at the St. Petersburg Technological Institute; during the same period, from 1908 to 1922, he was also a professor at St. Petersburg University (renamed Petrograd University in 1914). Chugaev was the founder and director, from 1918, of the Institute for the Study of Platinum and Other Noble Metals (in 1934 the institute was incorporated into the Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR).

Chugaev’s first studies were devoted to bacteriology and biochemistry: Chugaev discovered a sensitive reaction for the common colon bacillus (Escherichia coli), making it possible to distinguish it from typhoid fever bacteria. In organic chemistry he investigated a number of terpenes and camphor and developed a “xanthogenic” method of synthesizing unsaturated hydrocarbons (Chugaev method). He developed a method of determining mobile hydrogen atoms in organic compounds, known as the Chugaev-Tserevitinov method. In 1911 he discovered a new type of anomalous rotary dispersion, governed by the presence of two as-symetrical centers in a molecule of an organic compound.

Chugaev made major contributions to the chemistry of complex compounds. He established that the most stable inner complex compounds contain five- or six-membered rings (the Chugaev law of rings). He was the first to synthesize (1920) the pentammine compounds—predicted earlier by theory—of tetravalent platinum [Pt(NH3)5Cl]X3, where X is a monovalent anion (Chugaev salts). Chugaev discovered (1915) the conversion of complex amino compounds into the corresponding amide compounds. Of importance to analytical chemistry is Chugaev’s discovery of the sensitive reagent for nickel—dimethylglyoxime (1905)—and for osmium—thiourea (1918).

Chugaev founded a scientific school of complex compounds in the USSR. He was posthumouslv awarded the V. I. Lenin Prize (1927).


Izbr. trudy, vols. 1–3. Moscow, 1954–62.


Zviagintsev, O. E., Iu. I. Solov’ev, and P. I. Staroial’skii. Lev Aleksandrovich Chugaev. Moscow, 1965.
Zamiatkina, V. M., Iu. N. Kukushkin, and A. A. Makarenia. Lev Aleksandrovich Chugaev. Leningrad, 1973.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.