2 January

1975: Platinum hallmarks introduced. The first item to receive the hallmark was the platinum metal awarded by the Institute of Metals to Professor Robert Hutton with the mark of Goldsmith’s of London.

Born on This Day

1765: Charles Hatchett: British chemist. He discovered niobium (Nb, element 41) in 1801, which he called columbium.

Rudolf Clausius

1822: Rudolf Clausius: German physicist and mathematician and is considered one of the central founders of the science of thermodynamics. By his restatement of Sadi Carnot’s principle known as the Carnot cycle, he gave the theory of heat a truer and sounder basis. His most important paper, “On the Moving Force of Heat” published in 1850, first stated the basic ideas of the second law of thermodynamics. In 1865 he introduced the concept of entropy. In 1870 he introduced the virial theorem which applied to heat.

1899: Roger Adams:  American organic chemist. He is best known for the eponymous Adams’ catalyst, and his work did much to determine the composition of naturally occurring substances such as complex vegetable oils and plant alkaloids. As the Department Head of Chemistry at the University of Illinois from 1926 to 1954, he also greatly influenced graduate education in America, taught over 250 Ph.D. students and postgraduate students, and served the U.S. as a scientist at the highest levels during World War I and World War II.

1904: Walter Heitler: German physicist who made contributions to quantum electrodynamics and quantum field theory. He brought chemistry under quantum mechanics through his theory of valence bonding.

Isaac Asimov

1920: Isaac Asimov: American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University. He was known for his works of science fiction and popular science. Asimov was a prolific writer who wrote or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. His books have been published in 9 of the 10 major categories of the Dewey Decimal Classification.