Runge – CNP IV
Friedlieb (or Friedlob, occasionally misnamed as “Friedrich”) Ferdinand Runge (born near Hamburg on 8 February 1795, died in Oranienburg on 25 March 1867) was a German analytical chemist.
Runge conducted chemical experiments from a young age, serendipitously identifying the mydriatic effects of belladonna (deadly nightshade) extract. In 1819, he demonstrated his finding to Goethe, who encouraged him to analyse coffee. A few months later, Runge identified caffeine.
Runge studied chemistry in Jena and Berlin, where he obtained his doctorate. After touring Europe for three years, he taught chemistry at the university of Breslau until 1831. From then until 1852 he worked for a chemical company, but was dismissed by a resentful manager and died fifteen years later in poverty.
His chemical work included purine chemistry, the identification of caffeine, the first coal tar dye (aniline blue), coal tar products (and a large number of substances that derive from coal tar), paper chromatography, pyrrole, chinoline, phenol, thymol and atropine.
He was the first to notice in 1855 the phenomenon of “Liesegang rings”. He observed them in the course of experiments on the precipitation of reagents in blotting paper.
For this CNP issue, Miek Zwamborn and Jo Frenken will dive into the world of the “Liesegang rings” and the emergent patterns Runge is known for.