Making Urea In A Lab
Friedrich Wφhler was a German teacher and physician who first isolated urea, a compound usually found in mammals urine. In a letter on this date in 1828, Wφhler told Swedish chemist Baron Jons Jakob Berzelius that he could make an organic substance, urea, from nonorganic substances. He took silver cyanate and combined it with ammonium chloride solution; the result was a white crystalline material identical to the urea found in human urine. Wφhler wrote, I must tell you that I can make urea without the use of kidneys, either man or dog. Ammonium cyanate is urea." His experiments proved that vitalism, a reigning theory of the day, wasnt always true. Proponents of vitalism believed that organic chemicals could only be modified by chemistry, but needed living plants or animals to actually produce them. Wφhlers synthesis of urea in the laboratory proved that theory false.
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