Solvay, Ernest (1838-1922)
Born: Rebecq-Rognon (Belgium), 1838
Died: Brussels (Belgium), 1922
Solvay had little formal education. In the gasworks of his uncle he worked out several methods of purifying gas. He dissolved ammonia and carbon dioxide in salt water, the solution produced a precipitate that turned out to be sodium bicarbonate. Solvay took out his first patent in 1861, founded a company and after three years settled down to success. By 1913 he was producing virtually the entire world supply of sodium bicarbonate. He founded the International Institute for Physics and Chemistry in Brussels (1894), where the famous Solvay-congresses were held.
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