Letter | Published:

Use of the Name 'Racemic Acid'

Naturevolume 140page22 (1937) | Download Citation



THE discovery of racemic acid by Karl Kestner or Koestner, a chemical manufacturer at Thann, in the Vosges, and the elucidation of its relationship to ordinary tartaric acid, more especially by Gay-Lussac, Berzelius and Pasteur, constitute one of the most important episodes in the history of organic chemistry. Upon an account of the nature of racemic acid there is no need, and we do not intend, to enter here ; but, owing to the confusion which exists in chemical literature regarding the authorship of the name racemic acid (variously attributed to Gay-Lussac, Gmelin and Berzelius), a note on this subject may be of interest to students of the history of chemistry.

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  1. 1

    Ann. Chim., 37, 441 (1828).

  2. 2

    Ann. Chim., 46, 113 (1831).

  3. 3

    Records of General Science, ii., 97, 161, 241 (1835).

  4. 4

    Kongl. Vetensk. Acad. Handl., 49 (1830).

  5. 5

    Ann. Chim., 61, 488 (1861).

  6. 6

    Schweigger's J., 49, 238 (1827).

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  1. Chemistry Department, University, Aberdeen



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