Gerardus Johannes Mulder

Gerardus Johannes Mulder

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Gerardus Johannes Mulder (December 27, 1802 - April 18, 1880) was a Dutch
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

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...

  and analytical chemist
Analytical chemistry
Analytical chemistry is the study of the separation, identification, and quantification of the chemical components of natural and artificial materials. Qualitative analysis gives an indication of the identity of the chemical species in the sample and quantitative analysis determines the amount of...


Mulder was born in Utrecht
Utrecht (city)
Utrecht city and municipality is the capital and most populous city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, and is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands with a population of 312,634 on 1 Jan 2011.Utrecht's ancient city centre features...

, and earned a medical degree from Utrecht University
Utrecht University
Utrecht University is a university in Utrecht, Netherlands. It is one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands and one of the largest in Europe. Established March 26, 1636, it had an enrollment of 29,082 students in 2008, and employed 8,614 faculty and staff, 570 of which are full professors....


He became a professor of chemistry at Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

 and later at Utrecht. While at the Utrecht University, Mulder described the chemical composition of protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

. He claimed that albuminous substances are made up of a common radical, protein, and that protein had the same empirical formula except for some variation in amounts of sulfur and phosphorus, long before the polymer nature of proteins was recognized after work by Staudinger and Carrothers.

He was the first to use this name, protein, coined by Jöns Jakob Berzelius
Jöns Jakob Berzelius
Jöns Jacob Berzelius was a Swedish chemist. He worked out the modern technique of chemical formula notation, and is together with John Dalton, Antoine Lavoisier, and Robert Boyle considered a father of modern chemistry...

 in a publication, his 1838 paper 'On the composition of some animal substances'. In the same publication he also proposed that animals draw most of their protein from plants.

Augustus Voelcker
Augustus Voelcker
Augustus Voelcker F.R.S. , full name John Christopher Augustus Voelcker, was a Royal Agricultural Society of England chemist...

 was Mulder’s assistant for a year from 1846.

In 1850, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences or Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien is one of the Royal Academies of Sweden. The Academy is an independent, non-governmental scientific organization which acts to promote the sciences, primarily the natural sciences and mathematics.The Academy was founded on 2...

. He died in Bennekom
Bennekom is a village and parish in the Netherlands, which is part of the Municipality of Ede in the south-west of the Veluwe district of the Province of Gelderland. It adjoins the town of Wageningen on the Lower-Rhine to the south, and Ede to the north, Veenendaal to the west and Renkum to the east...

in 1880.

External links

The Development of Modern Chemistry by Aaron Ihde, 1964, Harper and Row, pages 359 and 423-424.