Svante Arrhenius

Svante Arrhenius

Svante Arrhenius was a Swedish physicist and physical chemist who formulated the theory of electrolytic dissociation. One of the founding fathers of physical chemistry, Arrhenius also present a revolutionary model of the greenhouse effect. He won the 1903 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his brilliant contributions.

Early Life and Education:

Born on February 19, 1859 near Uppsala, Sweden, Svante Arrhenius’s father worked for Uppsala University as a land surveyor. A childhood prodigy, Arrhenius taught himself to read and even solve simple mathematics problems when he was only 3. He received his early education from the renowned Cathedral School in Uppsala. After completing his bachelor’s degree in 1878, Arrhenius earned a doctorate in 1884 at Uppsala University, where he was also awarded the the honorary title of docent the same year.

Contributions and Achievements:

Svante Arrhenius sent his 150-page thesis regarding the conductivities of electrolytes to several famous scientists across Europe. Wilhelm Ostwald was very much impressed, who even made a trip to Uppsala to recruit Arrhenius for his research team.

Arrhenius extensively broadened his ionic theory in 1884 and gave detailed definitions for acids and bases. He received a travel stipdent from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1886. Arrhenius revolutionized the study of electrolytes by stating that electrolytes are separated into ions when there is no current flowing through the solution.

Controversies regarding the causes of the ice ages led Arrhenius to build the earliest climate model of the influence of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which he presented in “The Philosophical Magazine” in 1896. He therefore became the first scientist to discuss the effect of industrial activity on global warming. Arrhenius also performed extensive research on bacterial toxins and various plant and animal poisons.

Later Life and Death:

Svante Arrhenius suffered a serious attack of acute intestinal catarrh in September 1927. He died a few days later, on October 2, 1927. Buried in Uppsala, Arrhenius was 68 years old.