Born in Riga on September 2 in 1853. His father was a master cooper here, and the native house of the next scientist was located in the area of the current Riga railway station, near Speķupe river. After finishing ” Real Gymnasium” he went to study at the University of Tartu( Estonia) later working as professor of chemistry in Riga Polytechnical Institute and Professor of Physical Chemistry at Leipzig University.
Wilhelm Ostwald seems a bit forgotten today, but at the beginning of the 20th century his name was chanted by the general public not only in Germany, but also in Russia, the Scandinavian countries, England, America, Japan and elsewhere. Ostwald was known not only as the founder of physical chemistry, but also as a philosopher who denied the existence of “matter” and atoms, preaching the idea that the only reality is energy, movement, but matter is only a collection of energy. Ostwald’s color theory, ideas of a single international currency, international units of measurement, the world language “Ido”, school reform, and the discovery of potential geniuses among students were no less popular. He was also one of the initiators and leaders of the pacifist movement on the eve of the First World War.
“He is a child of Riga, to whom his hometown is very grateful”
In less than 6 years of operation, Ostwald established the scientific basis of physical chemistry as a system in Riga, and this is perhaps the most important thing that has been done in Riga in the field of science.
In 1909 Ostwald was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his work on catalysis, chemical equilibria and reaction velocities.
So far he remains the only person from Riga or Latvia to have received Nobel prize.
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