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Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev was born in Tobolsk, Siberia, on February 7, 1834. Dmitri died January 20,1907 at age 73. He was a blonde haired, blue-eyed boy, and the youngest of 14 children. His mother Maria Korniliev s family settled in Tobolsk in the early 1700 s and introduced paper and glass making to Siberia. Ivan Dmitri s father died when he was a young boy, leaving his wife to support the large family. So Maria had to find work to put the children to school. Maria s family owned a glass factory, allowing her t take over managing the company for a modest wage from which she could support the family.
Dmitri being the youngest must have been his mother s favorite child and was provided as many opportunities as she could afford. Form Dmitri s early years, she began to save money for Dmitri to attend the university. He spent many hours in the glass factory his mother operated, learning from the chemist about the concepts behind glass making and from the glass blower about the art of making glass. At age 14, he was attending the Gymnasium in Tobolsk. In that year a second major family tragedy occurred, the glass factory burned down. There was no money to rebuild and the only money was the money saved for Dmitri to go to the university. Maria was not about to give up her dreams for her son. She knew that Dmitri had to go to school on a scholarship. So she paused Dmitri to improve his grades and prepare for entrance exams.
Dmitri did not want to or cared about other subjects other then science. He felt that history and Latin were dead subjects and waste of his time. In 1849, the family moved to Moscow. Because of political problems university was reluctant to admit anyone from outside of Moscow. Dmitri s mother did not want to give up here, so the family moved again to St. Petersburg. Dmitri took the entrance exams at Pedagogical Institute. He did not get the best grades but well enough to be admitted to the science teacher-training program on a full scholarship.
Maria died shortly after Dmitri s acceptance at St. Petersburg. Shortly after his sister died, both from tuberculosis. Dmitri was now alone. He got tuberculosis also and the doctor told him he had two years to live unless he moves somewhere more suitable. Even with this disease he graduated on time. He had his future planed and did not want to die yet, so he move to Simferopol in the Crimean Peninsula.
Between 1859 and 1861 he studied the densities of gases with Regnault, A.P. Borodin and Cannizzaro. These people had great influences in his life. He began to teach back at St. Petersburg in 1863. In 1866 he became known as Professor of Chemistry at the University and was made Doctor of Science. He loved to teach and spent most of his time in his classroom. Lot of his lab work including the periodic table was done on his spare time.
In 1863 Dmitri married Feozva Nikitchna Lascheva. They had two children. A boy named Volodya, and a daughter named Olga. Mendeleev never really loved Feoza and spent little time with her. In January 1882 he divorced Feozva so he could marry his niece s best friend Anna Ivanova Popova. She was a lot younger than Dmitri but the town loved each other. They had four children together.
He made several publications. Most famous one was Organic Chemistry, which was published in 1861 when he was 27 years old. This book won the Domidov Prize. The first edition of Principles of Chemistry was printed in 1868. Both of these books were classroom texts.
His greatest accomplishment was the stating of the Periodic Law and the development of the Periodic table. He felt that there was some type of order to the elements, and spent more than thirteen years of his life collecting data and assembling the concept, initially with the idea of resolving some of the chaos in the field for his students. Dmitri was one of the first modern-day scientists that did not rely on his own work but in scientists around the world in order to receive data that they have collected. Then he used their data along with his own data to arrange the elements according to their properties. By 1869 he assembled detailed descriptions of more then 60 elements. On November 29, 1870 Dmitri took his concept even further by stating that it was possible to predict the properties of undiscovered elements. He then proceeded to make predictions for three new elements and suggested several properties of each, including density, radii, and combining ratios with oxygen, among others. People did not believe his theories. They just ignored it and did not take Dmitri s work seriously. In 1875 when Frenchman Lecoq de Boisbaudran discovered one of the predicted elements with he named Gallium, Dmitri ideas were taken seriously. The other two elements were discovered later and their properties were found to be remarkably similar to those predicted by Mendeleev. He was 35 years old when the initial paper was presented.
Throughout the remainder of his life, Dmitri Mendeleev received numerous awards from carious organizations including the Davy Medal from the Royal Society of England in 1882, the Copley Medal, the Society s highest award in 1905. He got honorary degrees from universities around the world.
Dmitri Mendeleev s work means a lot to us. Imagine how hard it would have been to memories the elements without a periodic table? I admire Dmitri, because not only for his achievements but the way he achieved them. He had a tough childhood and yet he turned out a brilliant man. Dmitri did not give up his dreams but kept chasing after them.
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