1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Meyer, Julius Lothar
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Meyer, Julius Lothar
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MEYER, JULIUS LOTHAR (1830-1895), German chemist, was born on the 19th of August 1830, at Varel in Oldenburg. He was the son of a physician, and went to study medicine first at Zürich University in 1851, and then, two years later, at Würzburg, where he had R. Virchow as his teacher in pathology. The influence of C. F. W. Ludwig, under whom he studied at Zürich, decided him to devote his attention to physiological chemistry, and therefore he went, after his graduation (1854), to Heidelberg, where R. Bunsen held the chair of chemistry. There he was so influenced by G. R. Kirchhoff's mathematical teaching that he took up the study of mathematical physics at Königsberg under F. E. Neumann. In 1859 he became privat-docent in physics and chemistry at Breslau, where in the preceding year he had graduated as Ph. D. with a thesis on the action of carbon monoxide on the blood. In 1866 he accepted a post in the School of Forestry at Neustadt-Eberswalde, but soon moved to Carlsruhe Polytechnic. During the Franco-German campaign the Polytechnic was used as a hospital, and he took an active part in the care of the wounded. Finally, in 1876, he became professor of chemistry at Tübingen, where he died on the 11th of April 1895. His name is best known for the share he had in the periodic classification of the elements. He noted, as did J. A. R. Newlands in England, that if they are arranged in the order of their atomic weights they fall into groups in which similar chemical and physical properties are repeated at periodic intervals; and in particular he showed that if the atomic weights are plotted as ordinates and the atomic volumes as abscissae, the curve obtained presents a series of maxima and minima, the most electro-positive elements appearing at the peaks of the curve in the order of their atomic weights. His book on Die modernen Theorien der Chemie, which was first published in Breslau in 1864, contains a discussion of relations between the atomic weights and the properties of the elements. In 1882 he received from the Royal Society, at the same time as D. J. Mendeléeff, the Davy medal in recognition of his work on the Periodic Law. A younger brother, O. E. Meyer, became professor of physics at Breslau in 1864.