Paul Sabatier

  • From:

    University of Toulouse | Toulouse, France

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  • Citation:

    For organic chemistry, the catalytic activity of finely divided common metals and devised methods for their use.

Paul Sabatier was born at Carcassonne in Southern France in 1854. He studied at Ecole Normale Superieure, graduating first in his class. He taught physics for a year in a local school at Nimes before going to the College de France in 1878. He received the degree of Doctor of Science in 1880. Sabatier began teaching physics in the Faculty of Sciences at Bordeaux, where he remained until January, 1882, when he accepted a similar post at the University of Toulouse. At the University of Toulouse, he eventually served as Professor of Chemistry and Dean of the Faculty of Science.

Sabatier shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1912 with Victor Grignard for researches in catalytic organic synthesis, and particularly for discovering the use of nickel as a catalyst in hydrogenation (the addition of hydrogen to molecules of carbon compounds). Sabatier's various discoveries formed the bases of the margarine, oil hydrogenation, and synthetic methanol industries, as well as of numerous laboratory syntheses. He explored nearly the whole field of catalytic syntheses in organic chemistry, personally investigating several hundred hydrogenation and dehydrogenation reactions, showing that several other metals besides nickel possess catalytic activity, though in smaller degree. He also studied catalytic hydration and dehydration, examining both the feasibility of specific reactions and the general activity of the various catalysts.

Information as of 1933