Location: First Floor, West Wing, North Wall, Sequence 2
Source: Chemical Heritage Foundation
Sponsor: Alexander I. Popov
Mendeléeff was born in Tobolsk, Siberia, east of the Ural mountains, and as a Siberian was denied admission to the University of Moscow. He obtained a teaching degree in chemistry in St. Petersburg (1855) and became a professor, first of organic and later of general chemistry. His textbook, "Principles of Chemistry" became a classic. During its writing he sought a system for classifying the elements, and discovered in 1869 his famous Periodic Law based on atomic weights (now, atomic numbers). It attracted little interest until his prediction of missing elements and their properties was verified by their discovery (gallium, scandium and germanium). His interests extended to scientific agriculture, industrial chemistry and aeronautics. A non-conformist (he had his hair cut only once a year, each spring) and progressive thinker interested in social reform, he lost favor with the czarist regime and was "retired" early from the University. Though denied admission to the Imperial Academy of Sciences, he was well-recognized outside of Russia (Davy Medal, 1882).