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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 5 Issue 6 (2000) pp 335-339

Johannes Jacobus Van Laar Unappreciated Scientist

Jaime Wisniak

Department of Chemical Engineering, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel 84105

Published online: 14 November 2000

Abstract. Van Laar’s academic and research career was adversely affected by psychological traumas he experienced during his youth. Loss of his parents at a young age, submission to a hard discipline, and lack of a formal university education made van Laar emotionally unstable and gave him many enemies, among them van der Waals. Still, Van Laar’s scientific achievements have resulted in the transformation of mathematical chemistry into the independent subjects known today as chemical thermodynamics and theory of phase equilibria. Discussed here as well is Van Laar’s theory of solutions using the state of thermodynamics at his time and modern thermodynamic concepts.

Key Words:  Chemistry and History; thermodynamics

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Issue date: December 1, 2000

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