Friedrich Kekule and the Benzene Ring

Friedrich Kekule was a chemist who studied the benzene molecule. Falling asleep on a bus, he clearly dreamt how the benzene ring was formed.

Friedrich Kekule was born in Darmstadt, Germany on September 7th, 1829. He began life as an architect, but became fascinated with how chemistry could be used to solve crime and turned to chemistry. He loved the theoretical work involved, and became fascinated with how molecules were connected together.

One afternoon he was taking a bus in London when he fell asleep. Suddenly he had a clear dream in which he visualized how molecules connected together. He had another dream when he was studying benzene, which helped him realize that benzene formed a ring shape.

His dreams helped guide his research and form the basis for modern organic chemistry.

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