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Nature volume 127, pages 475476 (28 March 1931) | Download Citation



THE centenary of Kekulé's birth was celebrated in September of 1929, and many chemists who were present on that interesting occasion welcomed the opportunity which Prof. Pfeiffer gave them of inspecting those old models with the black ball attached to four metal rods directed towards the corners of a regular tetrahedron. Those were, in fact, the identical models upon which the youthful van 't Hofi had gazed with wonder, and which doubtless contributed in no little measure to the inspiration which the old university town gave him, for van't Hoff cherished to the end a love for Bonn. “In Leiden”, he wrote, “war alles Prosa, die Umgebung, die Stadt, die Menschen. In Bonn, alles Poesie !” During van't Hoff's sojourn in Bonn in 1872–73, Kekule had already gathered round him a band of enthusiastic workers, including men like Franchimont, Spring, Wallach, and Zincke, but the independent Dutchman did not display the slightest inclination to join this illustrious circle, and thus, naturally enough, Kekulé lost interest in him. So off to Wurtz and to Paris, but the seed for one of the greatest conceptions in chemistry had fallen on fertile soil.

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