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Svante Arrhenius
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Scientist
    (February 19, 1859-October 2, 1927)
    Born in Uppsala, Sweden
    One of the founders of physical chemistry
    Proposed that electrolytes -- salts that dissolve in water to produce a solution that conducts electricity -- dissociate into positively and negatively charged ions even in the absence of an electric current (1887)
    Developed the Arrhenius equation for the dependence of reaction rates on temperature (1889)
    Proposed that increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could lead to increased temperatures (1896)
    Recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1903)
    He received only a fourth-class degree for his doctoral dissertation.
    He divorced his first wife (who had also been his pupil).
    As a member of the Nobel Prize committee for physics and an advisor to the chemistry committee, he used his influence to steer Nobel Prizes to his friends and to try to deny them to his enemies.
    For example, he played a key role in preventing the 1906 Nobel Prize in Chemistry from going to periodic table creator Dimitri Mendeleev, who had been a critic of Arrhenius' theories about electrolytes.
    He taught himself to read at age three.
    The ideas in his doctoral dissertation later won him a Nobel Prize.
    He helped draft the bylaws of the Nobel Foundation and shot down a proposal to allow only Swedes to nominate candidates for the Prizes (1900).

Credit: C. Fishel


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