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Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff
Jacobus van 't Hoff by Perscheid 1904.jpg
Born (1852-08-30)August 30, 1852
Died March 1, 1911(1911-03-01) (aged 58)
Occupation chemist
Known for Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1901

Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff (August 30, 1852 - March 1, 1911) was a Dutch physical and organic chemist and the winner of the inaugural Nobel Prize in chemistry. His research on chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium, osmotic pressure and crystallography are credited to be his major works. Jacobus helped to found the discipline of physical chemistry as we know it today, he is also considered to be one of the greatest chemists of all time.


He was born in Rotterdam, the son of a medical doctor. From a young age he was interested in science and nature; he frequently took part in botanical excursions, and his receptiveness for philosophy and his fondness for poetry were already apparent in his early school years. (Lord Byron was his idol.)

Van 't Hoff became a lecturer in chemistry and physics at the Veterinary College in Utrecht. He then became a professor of chemistry, mineralogy, and geology at the University of Amsterdam for almost 18 years before eventually becoming the chairman of the chemistry department. In 1896 van't Hoff moved to Germany where he finished his career at the University of Berlin in 1911.

In 1901 he received the first Nobel Prize in chemistry. Of his numerous distinctions, he regarded his winning of the first Nobel Prize in Chemistry as the culmination of his career.

In 1878 van't Hoff married Johanna Francina Mees. They had two daughters, Johanna Francina (b. 1880) and Aleida Jacoba (b. 1882), and two sons, Jacobus Hendricus (b. 1883) and Govert Jacob (b. 1889).

Jacobus died at the age of 58, on March 1, 1911, at Steglitz near Berlin. He was indeed a prominent scientist of its time.

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