Zsigmondy Invents the Ultramicroscope (Great Events from History II: Science and Technology Series)
Article abstract: Richard Zsigmondy developed a device called the ultramicroscope, which allowed scientists to measure and identify individual particles in colloid solutions.
Summary of Event
Richard Zsigmondy’s invention of the ultramicroscope grew out of his interest in colloidal substances. Colloids are tiny particles of a substance finely dispersed throughout a solution of another material or substance (for example, salt in water). Zsigmondy, whose father, Adolf, was a noted inventor of dental surgical equipment, first became interested in colloids while working as an assistant to the physicist Adolf Kundt at the University of Berlin in 1892. Although originally trained as an organic chemist, in which discipline he took his Ph.D. at the University of Munich in 1890, Zsigmondy became particularly interested in colloidal substances containing fine particles of gold that produce lustrous colors when painted on porcelain. He subsequently abandoned organic chemistry and devoted his career to the study of colloids.
Zsigmondy began intensive research into his new field of interest in 1893, when he returned to Austria to accept a post as lecturer at the Technische Hochschule at Graz. (For readers unfamiliar with the German and Austrian educational systems, the level of...
(The entire section is 1484 words.)
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