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Costin Nenitescu

Costin Nenitescu

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Costin D. Neniţescu was a prominent Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

n 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...

, and a professor at the Polytechnic University of Bucharest
Polytechnic University of Bucharest
Universitatea Politehnica din Bucureşti is a technical university in Bucharest, Romania. It was founded in 1864 based on the older technical school of Gheorghe Lazăr and it was renamed "Politehnica" in 1920.-History:...

. He was a member of the Romanian Academy
Romanian Academy
The Romanian Academy is a cultural forum founded in Bucharest, Romania, in 1866. It covers the scientific, artistic and literary domains. The academy has 181 acting members who are elected for life....

, a corresponding member of the German Academy of Sciences
German Academy of Sciences Berlin
The German Academy of Sciences at Berlin , later renamed Academy of Sciences of the German Democratic Republic was the most important research institution of East Germany.The academy was founded in 1946 by the Soviet Military Administration in Germany to continue the long tradition of the...

 in Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, and a member of the Leopoldina Academy of Natural Scientists in Halle-Saale
Halle, Saxony-Anhalt
Halle is the largest city in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. It is also called Halle an der Saale in order to distinguish it from the town of Halle in North Rhine-Westphalia...


After completing in 1920 his secondary studies at Gheorghe Lazăr High School, Neniţescu continued his studies at the Polytechnic Institute
ETH Zurich
The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich or ETH Zürich is an engineering, science, technology, mathematics and management university in the City of Zurich, Switzerland....

 in Zürich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

 and Ludwig Maximilians University
Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich
The Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich , commonly known as the University of Munich or LMU, is a university in Munich, Germany...

 in Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, where he was one of the favorite students of Hans Fischer
Hans Fischer
Hans Fischer was a German organic chemist and the recipient of the 1930 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.-Early years:...


He studied Friedel-Crafts-like reactions in the series of aliphatic hydrocarbons, the mechanism of the isomerization of cyclobasics, the halogen migration in cycles and chains, reactions induced by carbonium ions, and others. He identified a group of naphthenic acid
Naphthenic acid
Naphthenic acid is the name for an unspecific mixture of several cyclopentyl and cyclohexyl carboxylic acids with molecular weight of 120 to well over 700 atomic mass units. The main fraction are carboxylic acids with a carbon backbone of 9 to 20 carbons. The naphtha fraction of the crude oil...

s in Romanian crude oil. He searched for ways of obtaining cyclobutadiene
Cyclobutadiene is the smallest [n]-annulene , an extremely unstable hydrocarbon having a lifetime shorter than five seconds in the free state. It has chemical formula 44 and a rectangular structure verified by infrared studies. This is in contrast to the square geometry predicted by simple Hückel...

, while explaining the chemistry of this unstable substance and isolating its dimers.

His research interests were also in the oxidation of open-chain and aromatic hydrocarbons with chromic acid
Chromic acid
The term chromic acid is usually used for a mixture made by adding concentrated sulfuric acid to a dichromate, which may contain a variety of compounds, including solid chromium trioxide. This kind of chromic acid may be used as a cleaning mixture for glass. Chromic acid may also refer to the...

 and chromic oxychloride. He found new methods for the synthesis of pirilium salts, of carbene
In chemistry, a carbene is a molecule containing a neutral carbon atom with a valence of two and two unshared valence electrons. The general formula is RR'C:, but the carbon can instead be double-bonded to one group. The term "carbene" may also merely refer to the compound H2C:, also called...

s, triptamine, serotonine, two new syntheses for the indole nucleus, and a new method of polymerisation of ethylene
Ethylene is a gaseous organic compound with the formula . It is the simplest alkene . Because it contains a carbon-carbon double bond, ethylene is classified as an unsaturated hydrocarbon. Ethylene is widely used in industry and is also a plant hormone...


His research was substantiated in more than 200 papers. His remarkable technical and scientific activity helped develop the chemical industry in Romania.

In his honor, the chemistry contest "C.D. Nenitescu" is organized yearly at the Polytechnic University of Bucharest.

Main works

  • "Organic Chemistry" (2 volumes; 1st print was in 1928; the 6th print was published in 1965)
  • "General Chemistry" (2nd print was published in 1963).

External links

Neniţescu's biography