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Jöns Jacob Berzelius was Born

Today in Masonic history Jöns Jacob Berzelius was born in 1779.

Jöns Jacob Berzelius was a Swedish chemist.

Berzelius was born in Östergötland province in Sweden on August 20th, 1779. His parents would pass away when he was young. He would go to live with family in Linköping, attend the school that is now known as Katedralskolan. He would later enroll in Uppsala University to become a medical doctor starting in 1796. He would graduate as an M.D. in 1802. During his time at the University he would work as an apprentice at the Medevi mineral springs. He would conduct an analysis of the spring water. For his medical studies he would examine the influence of galvanic current on several diseases.

After graduation, Berzelius would move to Stockholm, Sweden. There he would being working as a doctor for a mining company. After discovering his analytical abilities, the mine owner set him up with a laboratory. From 1808 until 1836 he would work with Anna Sundström, who is considered to be the first female chemist in Sweden.

Also in 1808, Berzelius would be elected as a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. At the time of his election he to Academy, it was in dis-repair. After romanticism had come to Sweden, most felt that science was less interesting. In 1818, he was elected the Academy's secretary, holding the position until 1848. During his tenure it is considered that the Academy went through it's second golden era. In 1822, he was elected a Foreign Honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1827, he became a correspondent of the Royal institute of the Netherlands, later he would become an associate member.

During Berzelius's time he discovered a variety of things, some are still used today or helped to create modern chemistry. He would make a chart of all known elements giving Oxygen an atomic weight of 100. The work would provide evidence helping John Dalton's atomic theory. It would also disprove Prout's hypothesis that all atoms were built up from hydrogen. He would also develop chemical notation, the only difference from the one used today is that he used a superscript instead of a subscript to indicate the proportion.

Berzelius also is credited with discovering the elements silicon, selenium, thorium, and cerium. He was also the first chemist to use the term polymer although his definition of a polymer is different from the one that is used today.

Berzelius would pass away on August 7th, 1848 in Stockholm, Sweden.

Berzelius was a member of St. Erik Lodge in Stockholm which is a St. John's lodge under the Swedish Rite.