Ernest Solvay

Ernest Solvay

Infobox Scientist
name = Ernest Solvay
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caption = Ernest Solvay (c1900)
birth_date = 16 April 1838
birth_place = Rebecq
death_date = 26 May 1922
death_place = Ixelles
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nationality = Belgian
ethnicity =
field = chemistry
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doctoral_students =
known_for = ammonia-soda process
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Ernest Gaston Joseph Solvay (16 April 1838 - 26 May 1922) was a Belgian chemist, industrialist and philanthropist.

Born at Rebecq, an illness prevented him from going to university. He worked in his uncle's chemical factory from the age of 21.

In 1861, he developed the ammonia-soda process for the manufacture of soda ash (anhydrous sodium carbonate) from brine (as a source of sodium chloride) and limestone (as a source of calcium carbonate). The process was an improvement over the earlier Leblanc process.

He established his first factory at Couillet (now merged into Charleroi, Belgium) in 1863 and further perfected the process until 1872, when he patented it. Soon, Solvay process plants were established in the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and Austria. Today, about 70 Solvay process plants are still operational worldwide.

The exploitation of his patents brought Solvay considerable wealth, which he used for philanthropic purposes, including the establishment in 1894 of the "Institut des Sciences Sociales" (ISS) or Institute for Sociology at the Free University of Brussels (now split into the Université Libre de Bruxelles and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel), as well as International Institutes for Physics and Chemistry. In 1903, he founded the Solvay Business School which is also part of the Free University of Brussels. In 1911, he began a series of important conferences in physics, known as the Solvay Conferences, whose participants included luminaries such as Max Planck, Ernest Rutherford, Marie Curie, Henri Poincaré, and (then only 32 years old) Albert Einstein. A later conference would include Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Max Born, and Erwin Schrödinger.

He was two times elected to the Belgian Senate for the Liberal Party and appointed Minister of State at the end of his life. Solvay, New York, the location of the first Solvay process plant in the United States, is named after him.

Solvay died at Ixelles and is interred there in the Ixelles Cemetery. in 1911. Ernest Solvay is the third seated from the left. N.B. It is funny to note that, for some reasons, Solvay wasn't present at the time the photo was taken, so his photo was cut from an other one and pasted onto this one for the official release. In a time when no digital imaging editing tool existed, hence, the larger head ...]


* Bertrand, Louis, "Ernest Solvay. Een hervormer op maatschappelijk gebied", Brussels, Agence Dechenne, 1918, 113 p.
* Boianovsky, Mauro, Erreygers, Guido, "Social comptabilism and pure credit systems. Solvay and Wicksell on monetary reform", in : Fontaine, Philippe, Leonard, Robert, (ed.), The experiment in the history of economics, London, Routledge, 2005, p. 98-134.
* Despy-Meyer, Andrée, Devriese Didier (ed.), "Ernest Solvay et son temps", Brussels, Archives de l'ULB, 1997, 349 p.
* Erreygers, Guido, "The economic theories and social reform proposals of Ernest Solvay (1838-1922)", in : Samuels, Warren J. (red.), European economists of the early 20th century, volume 1. Studies of neglected thinkers of Belgium, France, The Netherlands and Scandinavia, Cheltenham-Northampton, Edward Elgar, 1998, p. 221-262.
* Rapaille, Maxime, Solvay, un géant. "Des rives de la Sambre aux confins de la terre", Bruxelles, Didier Hatier, 1989, 187 p.

ee also

*Solvay Institute of Sociology
*Emile Waxweiler

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  • Ernest Solvay — (um 1900) Ernest Solvay (* 16. April 1838 in Rebecq Rognon, Belgien; † 26. Mai 1922 in Ixelles, Brüssel) war ein belgischer Chemiker und Amateurforscher und entwickelte sich als Unternehmer zum Philanthropen. Er …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Ernest Solvay — fue un químico industrial belga. Nacido en Rebecq el 16 de abril de 1838. Muerto en Ixelles el 26 de mayo de 1922. Una enfermedad le impidió ir a la universidad por lo que comenzó a trabajar en la industria química en la fábrica de su tío a la… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Ernest Solvay — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Solvay. Ernest Solvay vers 1900 Ernest Solvay (Rebecq Rognon le 16 avril 1838 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ernest Solvay — noun Belgian chemist who developed the Solvay process and built factories exploiting it (1838 1922) • Syn: ↑Solvay • Instance Hypernyms: ↑chemist, ↑industrialist …   Useful english dictionary

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