Carl Reichenbach

Carl Reichenbach

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Carl Reichenbach'
Start a new discussion about 'Carl Reichenbach'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Baron
Freiherr
The German titles Freiherr and Freifrau and Freiin are titles of nobility, used preceding a person's given name or, after 1919, before the surname...

 Dr. Carl (Karl) Ludwig von Reichenbach (full name: Karl Ludwig Freiherr
Freiherr
The German titles Freiherr and Freifrau and Freiin are titles of nobility, used preceding a person's given name or, after 1919, before the surname...

 von Reichenbach) (February 12, 1788, Stuttgart
Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

 - January 1869 Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

, Germany) was a notable chemist
Chemist
A chemist is a scientist trained in the study of chemistry. Chemists study the composition of matter and its properties such as density and acidity. Chemists carefully describe the properties they study in terms of quantities, with detail on the level of molecules and their component atoms...

, geologist
Geologist
A geologist is a scientist who studies the solid and liquid matter that constitutes the Earth as well as the processes and history that has shaped it. Geologists usually engage in studying geology. Geologists, studying more of an applied science than a theoretical one, must approach Geology using...

, metallurgist, naturalist
Natural history
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study...

, industrialist and philosopher, and a member of the prestigious Prussian Academy of Sciences
Prussian Academy of Sciences
The Prussian Academy of Sciences was an academy established in Berlin on 11 July 1700, four years after the Akademie der Künste or "Arts Academy", to which "Berlin Academy" may also refer.-Origins:...

. He is best known for his discoveries of several chemical products of economic importance, extracted from tar
Tar
Tar is modified pitch produced primarily from the wood and roots of pine by destructive distillation under pyrolysis. Production and trade in tar was a major contributor in the economies of Northern Europe and Colonial America. Its main use was in preserving wooden vessels against rot. The largest...

, such as eupione
Eupione
Eupione, or eupion, is a hydrocarbon of the paraffin series, probably a pentane, C5H12, discovered by Carl Reichenbach in wood tar. It is also formed in the destructive distillation of many substances, as wood, coal, caoutchouc, bones, resin and the fixed oils. It is a colorless, highly volatile...

, waxy paraffin
Paraffin
In chemistry, paraffin is a term that can be used synonymously with "alkane", indicating hydrocarbons with the general formula CnH2n+2. Paraffin wax refers to a mixture of alkanes that falls within the 20 ≤ n ≤ 40 range; they are found in the solid state at room temperature and begin to enter the...

, pittacol (the first synthetic dye
Dye
A dye is a colored substance that has an affinity to the substrate to which it is being applied. The dye is generally applied in an aqueous solution, and requires a mordant to improve the fastness of the dye on the fiber....

) and phenol
Phenol
Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, phenic acid, is an organic compound with the chemical formula C6H5OH. It is a white crystalline solid. The molecule consists of a phenyl , bonded to a hydroxyl group. It is produced on a large scale as a precursor to many materials and useful compounds...

 (an antiseptic
Antiseptic
Antiseptics are antimicrobial substances that are applied to living tissue/skin to reduce the possibility of infection, sepsis, or putrefaction...

). He also dedicated himself in his last years to research an unproved field of energy combining electricity
Electricity
Electricity is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire...

, magnetism
Magnetism
Magnetism is a property of materials that respond at an atomic or subatomic level to an applied magnetic field. Ferromagnetism is the strongest and most familiar type of magnetism. It is responsible for the behavior of permanent magnets, which produce their own persistent magnetic fields, as well...

 and heat
Heat
In physics and thermodynamics, heat is energy transferred from one body, region, or thermodynamic system to another due to thermal contact or thermal radiation when the systems are at different temperatures. It is often described as one of the fundamental processes of energy transfer between...

, emanating from all living things, which he called the Odic force
Odic force
The Odic force is the name given in the mid-19th century to a hypothetical vital energy or life force by Baron Carl von Reichenbach...

.

Life


Reichenbach was educated at the University of Tübingen, where he obtained the degree of doctor of philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

. At the age of 16 he conceived the idea of establishing a new German state in one of the South Sea Islands, and for five years he devoted himself to this project.

Afterwards, directing his attention to the application of science to the industrial
Industry
Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

 arts, he visited manufacturing and metallurgical works
Metallurgy
Metallurgy is a domain of materials science that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements, their intermetallic compounds, and their mixtures, which are called alloys. It is also the technology of metals: the way in which science is applied to their practical use...

 in France and Germany, and established the first modern metallurgical company, with forge
Forge
A forge is a hearth used for forging. The term "forge" can also refer to the workplace of a smith or a blacksmith, although the term smithy is then more commonly used.The basic smithy contains a forge, also known as a hearth, for heating metals...

s of his own in Villingen and Hausach
Hausach
Hausach is a town in the Ortenaukreis, in western Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is situated in the Black Forest, on the river Kinzig, 25 km southeast of Offenburg.-External links:...

 in the Black Forest
Black Forest
The Black Forest is a wooded mountain range in Baden-Württemberg, southwestern Germany. It is bordered by the Rhine valley to the west and south. The highest peak is the Feldberg with an elevation of 1,493 metres ....

 region of Southern Germany and later in Baden
Baden
Baden is a historical state on the east bank of the Rhine in the southwest of Germany, now the western part of the Baden-Württemberg of Germany....

.

Scientific contributions


Reichenbach conducted original scientific investigations in many areas. The first geological
Geology
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

 monograph which appeared in Austria was his Geologische Mitteilungen aus Mähren (Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, 1834).

His position as the head of the large chemical works
Chemical industry
The chemical industry comprises the companies that produce industrial chemicals. Central to the modern world economy, it converts raw materials into more than 70,000 different products.-Products:...

, iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

 furnace
Furnace
A furnace is a device used for heating. The name derives from Latin fornax, oven.In American English and Canadian English, the term furnace on its own is generally used to describe household heating systems based on a central furnace , and sometimes as a synonym for kiln, a device used in the...

s and machine shops upon the great estate of Count Hugo secured to him excellent opportunities for conducting large-scale experimental research. From 1830 to 1834 he investigated complex products of the distillation
Distillation
Distillation is a method of separating mixtures based on differences in volatilities of components in a boiling liquid mixture. Distillation is a unit operation, or a physical separation process, and not a chemical reaction....

 of organic substances
Organic chemistry
Organic chemistry is a subdiscipline within chemistry involving the scientific study of the structure, properties, composition, reactions, and preparation of carbon-based compounds, hydrocarbons, and their derivatives...

 such as coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

 and wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

 tar
Tar
Tar is modified pitch produced primarily from the wood and roots of pine by destructive distillation under pyrolysis. Production and trade in tar was a major contributor in the economies of Northern Europe and Colonial America. Its main use was in preserving wooden vessels against rot. The largest...

, discovering a number of valuable hydrocarbon
Hydrocarbon
In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons from which one hydrogen atom has been removed are functional groups, called hydrocarbyls....

 compounds including creosote
Creosote
Creosote is the portion of chemical products obtained by the distillation of a tar that remains heavier than water, notably useful for its anti-septic and preservative properties...

, paraffin
Paraffin
In chemistry, paraffin is a term that can be used synonymously with "alkane", indicating hydrocarbons with the general formula CnH2n+2. Paraffin wax refers to a mixture of alkanes that falls within the 20 ≤ n ≤ 40 range; they are found in the solid state at room temperature and begin to enter the...

, eupione
Eupione
Eupione, or eupion, is a hydrocarbon of the paraffin series, probably a pentane, C5H12, discovered by Carl Reichenbach in wood tar. It is also formed in the destructive distillation of many substances, as wood, coal, caoutchouc, bones, resin and the fixed oils. It is a colorless, highly volatile...

 and phenol
Phenol
Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, phenic acid, is an organic compound with the chemical formula C6H5OH. It is a white crystalline solid. The molecule consists of a phenyl , bonded to a hydroxyl group. It is produced on a large scale as a precursor to many materials and useful compounds...

 (antiseptic
Antiseptic
Antiseptics are antimicrobial substances that are applied to living tissue/skin to reduce the possibility of infection, sepsis, or putrefaction...

s), pittacal
Pittacal
Pittacal was the first synthetic dyestuff to be produced commercially. It was accidentally discovered by German chemist Carl Ludwig Reichenbach in 1832, who was also the discoverer of kerosene, phenol, eupion, paraffin and creosote....

 and cidreret (synthetic dye
Dye
A dye is a colored substance that has an affinity to the substrate to which it is being applied. The dye is generally applied in an aqueous solution, and requires a mordant to improve the fastness of the dye on the fiber....

stuffs), picamar
Picamar
Picamar is a colorless, hydrocarbon oil extracted from the creosote of beechwood tar with a peculiar odor and bitter taste. It consists of derivatives of pyrogallol. It was discovered by German chemist Karl von Reichenbach in the 1830s....

 (a perfume
Perfume
Perfume is a mixture of fragrant essential oils and/or aroma compounds, fixatives, and solvents used to give the human body, animals, objects, and living spaces "a pleasant scent"...

 base), assamar, capnomor
Capnomor
Capnomor is a colorless and limpid oil with a peculiar odor, extracted by distillation from beechwood tar. It was discovered in the 1830s by the German chemist Baron Karl von Reichenbach....

, and others. Under the name of eupione, Reichenbach included the mixture of hydrocarbon oils now known as waxy paraffin or coal oil
Oil
An oil is any substance that is liquid at ambient temperatures and does not mix with water but may mix with other oils and organic solvents. This general definition includes vegetable oils, volatile essential oils, petrochemical oils, and synthetic oils....

s. In his paper describing the substance, first published in the Neues Jahrbuch der Chemie und Physik, B, ii, he dwelt upon the economical importance of this and of its associate paraffins, whenever the methods of separating them cheaply from natural bituminous compounds would be established.

Earth's magnetism


Reichenbach expanded on the work of previous scientists, such as Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei , was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism...

, who believed the Earth's axis was magnetically connected to a universal central force in space, in concluding that Earth's magnetism comes from magnetic iron, which can be found in meteorites. His reasoning was that meteorites and planets are the same, and no matter the size of the meteorite, polar existence can be found in the object. This was deemed conclusive by the scientific community in the 19th century.

The Odic force


In 1839 Von Reichenbach retired from industry and entered upon an investigation of the pathology of the human nervous system
Nervous system
The nervous system is an organ system containing a network of specialized cells called neurons that coordinate the actions of an animal and transmit signals between different parts of its body. In most animals the nervous system consists of two parts, central and peripheral. The central nervous...

. He studied neurasthenia
Neurasthenia
Neurasthenia is a psycho-pathological term first used by George Miller Beard in 1869 to denote a condition with symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, headache, neuralgia and depressed mood...

, somnambulism, hysteria
Hysteria
Hysteria, in its colloquial use, describes unmanageable emotional excesses. People who are "hysterical" often lose self-control due to an overwhelming fear that may be caused by multiple events in one's past that involved some sort of severe conflict; the fear can be centered on a body part, or,...

 and phobia
Phobia
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognized as irrational...

, crediting reports that these conditions were affected by the moon. After interviewing many patients he ruled out many causes and cures, but concluded that such maladies tended to affect people whose sensory faculties were unusually vivid. These he termed "sensitives".

Influenced by the works of Franz Anton Mesmer he hypothesised that the condition could be affected by environmental electromagnetism, but finally his investigations led him to propose a new imponderable force allied to magnetism
Magnetism
Magnetism is a property of materials that respond at an atomic or subatomic level to an applied magnetic field. Ferromagnetism is the strongest and most familiar type of magnetism. It is responsible for the behavior of permanent magnets, which produce their own persistent magnetic fields, as well...

, which he thought was an emanation from most substances, a kind of "life principle" which permeates and connects all living things. To this vitalist
Vitalism
Vitalism, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is#a doctrine that the functions of a living organism are due to a vital principle distinct from biochemical reactions...

 manifestation he gave the name Odic force
Odic force
The Odic force is the name given in the mid-19th century to a hypothetical vital energy or life force by Baron Carl von Reichenbach...

.

Works



English translations:

Reichenbach's ideas in popular culture


Characters in the fantasy novel, The Hollow People by Brian Keaney (Orchard Books 2006) manipulate Odyllic force, an energy which is accessed through waking dreams.

External links