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Carl Wilhelm Scheele

Carl (or Karl) Wilhelm Scheele, (December 9, 1742 - May 21, 1786) Swedish chemist, born in Stralsund, Pomerania, Germany, was the discoverer of many chemical substances, most notably discovering oxygen before Joseph Priestley.

Scheele worked as a pharmacist in Stockholm, from 1770-1775 in Uppsala, and later in Köping. His studies led him to the discovery of oxygen and nitrogen in 1772-1773, which he published in his only book Chemische Abhandlung von der Luft und dem Feuer (Chemical Treatise on Air and Fire) in 1777, losing some fame to Joseph Priestley, who independently discovered oxygen in 1774.

Scheele also discovered other chemical elements like chlorine (1774), manganese (1774), molybdenum (1778), tungsten (1781), and barium, as well as several molecules like glycerol, hydrogen cyanide (aka prussic acid), citric acid, hydrogen sulphide, and hydrogen fluoride[?]. Furthermore, he discovered a process similar to pasteurization.

Like many other chemists in his time, Scheele often worked under difficult and often dangerous conditions, which might explain his early death.



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