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Klaproth, Martin Heinrich

KLAPROTH, MARTIN HEINRICH (1743-1817), German chemist, was born at Wernigerode on the 1st of December 1743. During a large portion of his life he followed the profession of an apothecary. After acting as assistant in pharmacies at Quedlinburg, Hanover, Berlin and Danzig successively he came to Berlin on the death of Valentin Rose the elder in 1771 as manager of his business, and in 1780 he started an establishment on his own account in the same city, where from 1 782 he was pharmaceutical assessor of the Ober-Collegium Medicum. In 1787 he was appointed lecturer in chemistry to the Royal Artillery, and when the university was founded in 1810 he was selected to be the professor of chemistry. He died in Berlin on the 1st of January 1817. Klaproth was the leading chemist of his time in Germany.

An exact and conscientious worker, he did much to improve and systematize the processes of analytical chemistry and mineralogy, and his appreciation of the value of quantitative methods led him to become one of the earliest adherents of the Lavoisierian doctrines outside France. He was the first to discover uranium, zirconium and titanium, and to characterize them as distinct elements, though he did not obtain any of them in the pure metallic state; and he elucidated the composition of numerous substances till then imperfectly known, including compounds of the then newly recognized elements: tellurium, strontium, cerium and chromium.

His papers, over 200 in number, were collected by himself in Beitrage zur chemischen Kenntniss der Mineralkorper (5 vols., 1795- 1810) and Chemische Abhandlungen gemischten Inhalts (1815). He also published a Chemisches Worterbuch (1807-1810), and edited a revised edition of F. A. C. Gren's Handbuch der Chemie (1806).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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