Born Friedrich August Kekulé on 7th September 1829 in Darmstadt, Germany.
Originally studying architecture, Kekulé became interested in chemistry after seeing Justus von Liebig give evidence in a murder trial. He is chiefly remembered for producing a theory of the structure of benzene in 1865. This was an extension of his postulates (in 1858) that the valency of carbon atoms is always four; that carbon atoms can combine together to form chains of any length and complexity; and that the study of reaction products can reveal structural information.
Kekulé did not develop his structure theory, and his major work Lehrbuch der Organischen Chemie was unfinished at the time of his death.He was a lecturer at Heidelberg (1855-58), and later professor at Ghent (1858) and Bonn (1867). He died 13th July 1896 in Bonn.