August Kekulé

1829 (Darmstadt, Germany) – 1896 (Bonn)

Kekulé’s importance is primarily for his role in propounding the importance of molecular structure in chemistry — though no fewer than three of his students (Fischer, van’t Hoff and Baeyer) went on to win the Nobel Prize. He himself was a student of Liebig’s, who suggested he go on to work under Bunsen, while failing to recommend him for a position in Zürich. The famous dream in which he saw the true structure of benzene occurred while dozing in Ghent, though an earlier dream, on a Clapham (London) bus, is what gave him the key to his structural theory. Dumas was met while studying further in Paris.

August Kekulé knew…