Ostwald, Friedrich Wilhelm (1853-1932)
Born: Riga (Latvia, Russia), 1853
Died: Großbothen near Leizig (Germany), 1932
In 1881 Ostwald became professor at a polytechnic institute in Riga, in 1887 in Leipzig (first chair for physical chemistry). After 1877 Ostwald occupied himself with the problem of chemical affinities and of slow chemical reactions. After 1884 together with Svante Arrhenius he studied the conductivities of electrolytes and found the ´law of dilution´ (Verdünnungs-gesetz). He also worked on the equilibria and velocities of chemicals and established a ´rule of steps´ (Stufenregel) for the gradual course of certain chemical reactions. Other fields of investigation were catalysis (preparation of nitric acid, autocatalysis) and systematisation of colours. Ostwald also wrote extensively on natural philosophy and the history of science. In 1909 he was awarded the Nobel prize for chemistry.
"in recognition of his work on catalysis and for his investigations into the fundamental principles governing chemical equilibria and rates of reaction"