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Justus von Liebig in His Laboratory at the Chemical Institute of the University of Giessen (c. 1840)
The son of a Darmstadt pharmacist, Justus von Liebig (1803-1873) made a number of significant contributions to organic chemistry; he is also considered the founder of agricultural chemistry. His achievements included the reorganization of chemistry courses at schools and universities through the introduction of the laboratory method, groundbreaking research into the composition of foodstuffs that led to the development of a process for the large-scale production of meat extract, and the creation of an artificial fertilizer, which, in conjunction with mechanization, resulted in a virtual agricultural revolution, increasing yields substantially. This wood engraving shows Liebig’s bustling chemical laboratory at the University of Giessen. Liebig, dressed in a light blue coat, looks on from the laboratory’s back center. Colored wood engraving by Wilhelm Trautschold (1815-1877), c. 1840.