Chemical Landmark 2015

The first chemical institute of the University of Fribourg

Designated as «Chemical Landmark» on 13 October 2015.

The seventh distinction of a «Chemical Landmark» goes to the former chemical Institute of the University of Fribourg.

Left, the "new" building for the science department, in the center the former waggon factory where the chem. inst. was installed.
Left, the "new" building for the science department, in the center the former waggon factory where the chem. inst. was installed. (Image: Service des biens culturels Fribourg. Fondo storico di Héribert Reiners)
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Left, the "new" building for the science department, in the center the former waggon factory where the chem. inst. was installed.
Left, the "new" building for the science department, in the center the former waggon factory where the chem. inst. was installed. (Image: Service des biens culturels Fribourg. Fondo storico di Héribert Reiners)

In 1896 the first chemical institute of the University of Fribourg was installed in a former waggon factory, used as arsenal. The building displays the typical architecture of the transition period of the industrialisation and hence the advance of science itself. Between 1896 and 1974 this building accomodated the chemical institutes of the University of Fribourg. Here, German and French cultures of research and education were successfully combined. This led among others to the discovery of the colourant phthalocyanine which is even today used in about 25% of all organic pigments. The technological reach of this discovery could not be recognised at the time.

Chemical Landmark plaque 2015, in honour of the discovery of phthalocyanine anodised with a turquoise phthalocyanine.
Chemical Landmark plaque 2015, in honour of the discovery of phthalocyanine anodised with a turquoise phthalocyanine. (Image: L. Merz (SCNAT))
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Chemical Landmark plaque 2015, in honour of the discovery of phthalocyanine anodised with a turquoise phthalocyanine.
Chemical Landmark plaque 2015, in honour of the discovery of phthalocyanine anodised with a turquoise phthalocyanine. (Image: L. Merz (SCNAT))

In 1899 Chaim Weizmann received his doctorate in chemistry as one of the first in the new institute.

Commemorating this, the «Fribourg Chaim Weizmann Lectureship» is awarded annually to a distinguished chemist. The 2015 awardee is Nobel laureate Alan J. Heeger, professor for physics and materials at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Together with Alan G. MacDiarmid and Hideki Shirakawa, Alan J. Heeger received the Nobel prize in chemistry in 2000 for the discovery and development of conductive polymers, especially polyacetylenes.

In his talk he lectured on «Creativity, Discovery and Risk – Nobel Prizes Past and Future».

In conjunction with this celebration the commemorative plaque was unveiled.

Now, as then, construction work before the building.
Now, as then, construction work before the building. (Image: Volker Graf, Uni Freiburg)
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Now, as then, construction work before the building.
Now, as then, construction work before the building. (Image: Volker Graf, Uni Freiburg)
René Thomas-Mamert, one of the first two chemistry professors in Fribourg
René Thomas-Mamert, one of the first two chemistry professors in Fribourg
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René Thomas-Mamert, one of the first two chemistry professors in Fribourg
René Thomas-Mamert, one of the first two chemistry professors in Fribourg
Chemistry laboratory in Fribourg.
Chemistry laboratory in Fribourg. (Image: Bibliothèque cantonale et universitaire Fribourg. Fondo storico di Benedikt Rast)
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Chemistry laboratory in Fribourg.
Chemistry laboratory in Fribourg. (Image: Bibliothèque cantonale et universitaire Fribourg. Fondo storico di Benedikt Rast)

Nominations

Nominations for the next round of designations are now open:

Everyone – chemist or non-chemist, historian or non-historian – is encouraged to submit their nomination to the «Platform Chemistry».

The proposals will be reviewed by a committee of chemists, chemical engineers, and science historians.

Contact:

SCNAT
Platform Chemistry
Laupenstrasse 7
3008 Bern

chemistry@scnat.ch.com [without ".com"]

From the lab

Labor

Impressions from the former chemistry institute of the University of Fribourg.

Labor

© Bibliothèque cantonale et universitaire Fribourg. Fonds Benedikt Rast.

Originalprobe Phthalocyanin von H. de Diesbach

© L. Merz, SCNAT