Physics and Chemistry


Who made the first organic compound to be synthesized from inorganic ingredients?

In 1828, Friedrich Wöhler (1800–1882) synthesized urea from ammonia and cyanic acid. This synthesis dealt a deathblow to the vital-force theory, which held that definite and fundamental differences existed between organic and inorganic compounds. The Swedish chemist Jöns Jakob Berzelius (1779–1848) had proposed that the two classes of compounds were produced from their elements by entirely different laws. Organic compounds were produced under the influence of a vital force and so were incapable of being prepared artificially. This distinction ended with Wöhler’s synthesis.


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