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Johann Wolfgang Doeberreiner

Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner (December 13, 1780March 24, 1849) was a German chemist.

As a coachman's son, Döbereiner had little opportunity for formal schooling, but he was apprenticed to an apothecary, read widely, and attended learned science lectures. Eventually from 1810 he was professor of the University of Jena. He is known especially for his discovery of similar triads of elements in 1829, a step in the development of the periodic law. He discovered furfural, worked on the use of platinum as a catalyst, and invented a lighter (known as Döbereiner's lamp) that is ignited by the action of hydrogen on a platinum sponge. Döbereiner observed that if a jet of hydrogen was directed at the platinum from a distance of 4 cm so that it was premixed with air, the platinum became red-hot, then white-hot and the jet ignited spontaneously. This discovery, in which fire was produced without flint and tinder, quickly created an international sensation and was immediately tested and confirmed by many chemists and physicists.

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