Ira Remsen

Infobox Scientist
name = Ira Remsen

birth_date = Birth date|1846|2|10|df=yes
birth_place = New York City, New York, USA
death_date = Death date and age|1927|3|4|1846|2|10|df=yes
death_place = Carmel, California, USA
nationality = United States
field = Chemistry
work_institutions = EK University, Tübingen
Williams College
Johns Hopkins University
alma_mater = College of Physicians and Surgeons
University of Göttingen
doctoral_advisor = Wilhelm Rudolph Fittig
doctoral_students = Charles Herty
William A. Noyes
Kotaro Shimomura
known_for = Discovery of saccharin
Founder, American Chemical Journal
influences =
influenced =
prizes = Priestley Medal (1923)
Willard Gibbs Award (1914)
footnotes =

Ira Remsen (February 10, 1846 - March 4, 1927) was a chemist who, along with Constantin Fahlberg discovered the artificial sweetener saccharin. He was the second president of Johns Hopkins University.


Remsen was born in New York City and earned an MD from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1867 to please his parents. He then traveled to Germany to study chemistry - his true passion. He earned a PhD from University of Göttingen in 1870. In 1875, after researching pure chemistry at University of Tübingen, Remsen returned to the United States and became a professor at Williams College, where he wrote the popular "Theoretical Chemistry". His book and reputation brought him to the attention of Daniel Coit Gilman who invited him to become one of the original faculty of Johns Hopkins University. He accepted and founded the department of chemistry there, where he ran his own laboratory. In 1879 he founded the American Chemical Journal which he edited for 35 years.

In 1879 he made the greatest discovery of his career by accident. When he ate rolls at dinner after a long day in the lab researching coal tar derivatives, he noticed that the rolls tasted initially sweet but then bitter. Since his wife tasted nothing strange about the rolls, Remsen tasted his fingers and noticed that the bitter taste was probably from one the chemicals in his lab. The next day at his lab tasted the chemicals that he had been working with the previous day and discovered that it was the oxidation of o-toluenesulfonamide he had tasted the previous evening. He named the substance saccharin and he and his research partner Constantin Fahlberg published their finding in 1880. Later Remsen became angry after Fahlberg patented saccharin, claiming that he had discovered saccharin.

In 1901 Remsen was appointed the president of Johns Hopkins and he proceeded to found a School of Engineering and helped establish the school as a research university. He introduced many of the German laboratory techniques he had learned and wrote several important chemistry textbooks. In 1912 he stepped down as president and retired to Carmel, California. After his death the new chemistry building was named after him at Johns Hopkins. His ashes are located behind a plaque in Remsen Hall; he is the only person buried on campus. According to legend, undergraduates who rub the plaque the night before their chemistry exam will do well.



External links

* [ JHU Gazette Article]
* [ An Essay on Ira Remsen]
* [ 1910 ] at Remsen presents his view that following the lead of the Quaker Johns Hopkins by admitting persons of African descent to Johns Hopkins University was an "almost suicidal" act.

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  • Ira Remsen — (* 10. Februar 1846 in New York; † 4. März 1927 in Carmel, Kalifornien) war ein US amerikanischer Chemiker. Remsen entdeckte 1879 zusammen mit Constantin Fahlberg (1850–1910) den künstlichen Süßstoff Saccharin. Er war der zweite Präsident der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ira Remsen — Naissance 10 février 1846 New York (États Unis) Décès 4 mars 1927 Carmel, Californie (États Unis) Nationa …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ira Remsen — Ira Remsen. Ira Remsen (10 de febrero de 1846 4 de marzo, 1927) fue un químico estadounidense que descubrió el edulcorante artificial sacarina y fue el segundo presidente de la Universidad de Johns Hopkins. Fue presidente de la American Chemical… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Ira Remsen — (10 de febrero de 1846 4 de marzo, 1927) fue un químico que descubrió el edulcorante artificial sacarina y fue el segundo presidente de la Universidad de Johns Hopkins …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Ira Remsen House — Infobox nrhp | name =Ira Remsen House nrhp type = nhl caption = location= Baltimore, Maryland lat degrees = 39 lat minutes = 17 lat seconds = 51 lat direction = N long degrees = 76 long minutes = 37 long seconds = 10 long direction = W locmapin …   Wikipedia

  • Remsen — is the name of several places in the United States of America:* Remsen, Iowa, a community in Plymouth County * Remsen, New York, two locations (village and town) in Oneida CountyRemsen may also refer to: * Ira Remsen, the discoverer of saccharin… …   Wikipedia

  • Remsen — steht für: Ira Remsen (1846–1927), US amerikanischen Chemiker einen Ort im Bundesstaat New York, siehe Remsen (New York) einen Ort im Bundesstaat Iowa, siehe Remsen (Iowa) Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidun …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Remsen — Remsen, Ira, Chemiker, geb. 10. Febr. 1846 in New York, studierte daselbst, in München und Göttingen, war 1870–72 Assistent in Tübingen, wurde dann Professor am Williams College in Massachusetts und 1876 an der John Hopkins Universität in… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Remsen — Remsen, Ira, Chemiker, geb. 10. Febr. 1846 in Neuyork, 1872 Prof. in Massachusetts, 1876 in Baltimore; schrieb leicht verständliche Lehrbücher: »The principles of the theoretical chemistry« (5. Aufl. 1897), »Introduction to the study of the… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Remsen, Ira — ▪ American chemist born Feb. 10, 1846, New York City died March 4, 1927, Carmel, Calif., U.S.       American chemist and university president, codiscoverer of saccharin.       After studying at Columbia University (M.D., 1867) and at the… …   Universalium

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