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Prof. Heinz Roth, Rutgers University
Tuesday, February 07, 2023, 11:00am - 12:00pm

Heinz Roth

Kekulé’s Benzene Structure – Brilliant Scientific Achievement or Plagiarism and Fraud?


In 1857/1858 August Wilhelm Kekulé laid the foundation to structural organic chemistry – he announced that carbon was tetravalent and concluded that carbon could form bonds with carbon. After this success, he turned his attention to benzene, the prototype of the then emerging aromatic compounds. In early papers (1865/66) he shared the essence of the benzene structure without finding a satisfactory pictorial/structural representation. He crowned his efforts in 1872 by introducing the iconic cyclohexatriene structure.


More than a century later, a group of authors have tried to wrest the credit for the benzene structure from Kekulé and award it to Johann Josef Loschmidt. The development of Kekulé’s understanding and the merits of the recent criticism will be discussed.



Hosted by Professor Spencer Knapp

~Coffee/tea will be served prior to the lecture~

Location CCB Auditorium (Room 1303)