Martin Heinrich Klaproth

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Martin Heinrich Klaproth
Martin Heinrich Klaproth.jpg
Martin Heinrich Klaproth
Born (1743-12-01)1 December 1743
Died 1 January 1817(1817-01-01) (aged 73)
Berlin, Prussia
Residence Wernigerode, Brandenburg
Citizenship Wernigerode
Nationality German
Fields Chemistry
Known for Discovery of uranium, zirconium, cerium

Martin Heinrich Klaproth (1 December 1743 – 1 January 1817) was a German chemist who discovered uranium (1789), zirconium (1789), and cerium (1803).


Klaproth was born in Wernigerode. 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 1782 he was pharmaceutical assessor of the Ober-Collegium Medicum. In 1787 he was appointed lecturer in chemistry to the Prussian Royal Artillery, and when the university was founded in 1810 he was selected to be the professor of chemistry. He died in Berlin on New Year's Day in 1817. Klaproth was the leading chemist of his time in Germany.

Memorial plate on the Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof in Berlin, by Ralf Sander.

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. Klaproth found the element titanium in the ore rutile in 1791, believing it to be a new discovery, however, William Gregor is credited with the discovery of titanium, having found the metal in a different ore, (ilmenite), before Klaproth, although in the same year. He was the first to discover uranium while studying the mineral pitchblende.[1] In addition, he discovered zirconium, and characterized uranium and zirconium 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 Beiträge zur chemischen Kenntnis der Mineralkörper (5 vols., 1795–1810) and Chemische Abhandlungen gemischten Inhalts (1815). He also published a Chemisches Wörterbuch (1807–1810), and edited a revised edition of F. A. C. Gren’s Handbuch der Chemie (1806).

Klaproth was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1795[2] and a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1804.

The crater Klaproth on the Moon is named after him.

His son Julius was a famous orientalist.[3]


See also


  1. Klaproth, M. H. (1789). "Chemische Untersuchung des Uranits, einer neuentdeckten metallische Substanz". Chem. Ann. Freunde Naturl. (2): 387–403.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Library and Archive catalog". Royal Society. Retrieved 2012-03-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Walravens, H (2006). "Julius Klaproth. His Life and Works with Special Emphasis on Japan" (PDF). Japonica Humboldtiana. 10: 177–191.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>



Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

  • Hoppe, G; Damaschun F; Wappler G (April 1987). "[An appreciation of Martin Heinrich Klaproth as a mineral chemist]". Pharmazie. 42 (4): 266–7. PMID 3303064.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Sepke, H; Sepke I (August 1986). "[The history of physiologic chemistry in the first years of its existence at the Berlin University. Contributions of the chemist M. H. Klaproth and others]". Zeitschrift für die gesamte Hygiene und ihre Grenzgebiete. 32 (8): 504–6. PMID 3535265.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Rocchietta, S (February 1967). "[The pharmacist Martin Klaproth (1743-1817), pioneer of modern analytical chemistry, discoverer of uranium. On the 150th anniversary of his death]". Minerva Med. 58 (13): 229. PMID 5336711.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Dann, G E (July 1958). "[Scheele & Klaproth; a comparison.]". Svensk farmaceutisk tidskrift. 62 (19–20): 433–7. PMID 13580811.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Dann, G E (September 1953). "[Contribution of Martin Heinrich Klaproth to the development of chemistry.]". Pharmazie. 8 (9): 771–9. PMID 13120350.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Walravens, H (2006). "Julius Klaproth. His Life and Works with Special Emphasis on Japan" (PDF). Japonica Humboldtiana. 10: 177–191.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links