Döbereiner, Johann Wolfgang (yōˈhän vôlfˈgäng döˈbərĪnər) [key], 1780–1849, German chemist. From 1810 he was professor of the Univ. of Jena. He is known especially for his discovery of similar triads of elements, a step in the development of the periodic law. He discovered furfural, worked on the use of platinum as a catalyst, and invented a lighter (known as Döbereiner's lamp) that is ignited by the action of hydrogen on a platinum sponge.