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Rudolf Fittig


FITTIG, RUDOLF (1835-1910), German chemist, was born at Hamburg on Dec. 6, 1835. He studied chemistry at Gottingen, graduating as Ph.D. with a thesis on acetone in 1858. He sub sequently held several appointments at Gottingen, being Privat docent (186o), and extraordinary professor (1870) ; in 1870 he obtained the chair at Tubingen, and in 1876 that at Strasbourg. Fittig's researches were entirely in organic chemistry, and covered a wide field. He observed that aldehydes and ketones may be reduced to secondary and tertiary glycols, which he named pina cones, and also that certain pinacones when distilled with dilute sulphuric acid gave pinacolines. The unsaturated acids also re ceived much attention, and he discovered the internal anhy drides of oxyacids, termed lactones. In 1863 he introduced the reaction known by his name. In 1855 A. Wurtz had shown that when sodium acted upon alkyl iodides, the alkyl residues com bined to form more complex hydrocarbons ; Fittig showed that a mixture of an aromatic and an alkyl halide, under similar treat ment, yielded homologues of benzene. He investigated Perkin's reaction and shed some light on its mechanism. These researches incidentally solved the constitution of coumarin, the odoriferous principle of woodruff. Fittig and Erdmann's observation that phenyl isocrotonic acid readily yielded cx-naphthol by loss of water was of much importance, since it afforded valuable evidence as to the constitution of naphthalene. They also investigated certain hydrocarbons found in coal tar distillates and solved the consti tution of phenanthrene. We also owe much of our knowledge of the alkaloid piperine to Fittig, who in collaboration with Ira Remsen established its constitution in 1871. Fittig edited several editions of Wohler's Grundriss der organisclien Chemie (i i th ed., 1887) and wrote an Unorganische Chemie (3rd, 1882). His re searches have been recognized by many scientific societies and institutions, the Royal Society awarding him the Davy medal in 1906. He died at Strasbourg on Nov. 19, 191 o.

alkyl, constitution and researches