(1779 - 1848)

Baron Jöns Jacob (or Jakob) Berzelius was a Swedish scientist among the founders of modern chemistry. He developed the modern system of symbols and formulas used in chemistry and discovered a number of elements.

Berzelius carefully studied atomic weights of elements, using oxygen as a standard against other elements. His findings, first published in 1818 and revised in 1826, are incredibly accurate. This work of his contributed to the later development of the modern atomic theory.

Berzelius discovered many elements, such as Selenium, Cerium, and Thorium, and isolated Silicon, Zirconium, and Titanium. As he worked in an improvised kitchen laboratory, he developed modern laboratory techniques including the water bath, desiccator (dehydrator), rubber tubing, wash bottle, and filter paper. Berzelius coined the terms isomerism, allotropy, and protein. He also published a textbook that was very influential in the scientific community during his time.

Berzelius was born and grew up in Göttland, Sweden. Although he was close to failing his medical studies at the University of Uppsala, he received an M.D. (medicinae doctor, doctor of medicine) degree in 1802 and became a professor at the same university in 1807. The year after, Berzelius was elected to the Stockholm Royal Academy of Science. Later he became a professor of chemistry at the Royal Caroline Meidoc-Chirugical Institute in Stockholm.