Wöhler, Friedrich frē´drĭkh vö´lər [key], 1800–1882, German chemist. He studied under the German chemist Leopold Gmelin and J. J. Berzelius, a Swedish chemist, and in 1836 was appointed professor at the Univ. of Göttingen. He devised (1827) a new method for isolating aluminum and in 1828 used the method to isolate beryllium and yttrium. His synthesis (1828) of urea, the first synthesis of an organic compound from inorganic material, opened a new era in organic chemistry and contributed greatly to the theory of isomerism. His work on benzoic acid was important to the chemistry of metabolism. His works on chemistry, widely used as texts, include Outlines of Organic Chemistry (1840, tr. 1873).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Chemistry: Biographies