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Freidrich August Kekulé

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Fredrich August Kekulé, a German chemist, was born in 1829 at Darmsdt in Germany. He became professor in 1856 and Fellow of Royal Society in 1875. He made major contribution to structural organic chemistry by proposing in 1858 that carbon atoms can join to one another to form chains and later in 1865, he found an answer to the challenging problem of benzene structure by suggesting that these chains can close to form rings. He gave the dynamic structural formula to benzene which forms the basis for its modern electronic structure.

He described the discovery of benzene structure later as:

"I was sitting writing at my textbook, but the qork did not progress; my thoughts were elsewhere. I turned my chair to the fire, and dozed. Again the atoms were gambolling before my eyes. This time the smaller groups kept modestly in the background. My mental eye, rendered more acute by repeated visions of this kind, could now distinguish larger structures of manifold conformations; long rows, sometimes more closely fitted together; all twisting and turning in snake like motion. But look! What was that? One of the snakes had seized hold of its own tail, and the form whirled mockingly before my eyes. As if by a flash of lightening I woke;...I spent the rest of the night working out the consequences of the hypothesis. Let us learn to dream, gentlemen, and then perhaps we shall learn the truth but let us beware of making our dreams public before they have been approved by the waking mind."~~(1890) One hundred years later, on the occasion pf Kekulé's centenary celebrations a group of compounds of polybenzenoid structures have been named as Kekulenes.

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