Kolthoff, Izaak Maurits

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KOLTHOFF, IZAAK MAURITS (1894–1993), chemist. Kolthoff was born in Almelo in the Netherlands, graduated in pharmacy in 1915, and obtained his Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Utrecht. In 1927 he started a one-year appointment as professor and head of the Analytical Division of the School of Chemistry of the University of Minnesota, where he remained for the rest of his career. Kolthoff 's main achievement was to apply the principles of physical chemistry and biochemistry to analytical chemistry, thereby transforming it from a largely pragmatic and descriptive branch of science into an intellectually rigorous discipline. His insights led him to explore a diverse range of basic and applied problems. One important practical application in World War ii concerned the production of synthetic rubber. His continuous output of 944 truly original papers as well as monographs between 1915 and 1993 was prodigious, and his co-edited Treatise on Analytical Chemistry is a majestic testimony to his preeminence in this field. His many honors included election to the U.S. Academy of Sciences in 1958. He was greatly concerned with social issues and highly influential in relocating victims of Nazi persecution in the U.S. in the 1930s.

[Michael Denman (2nd ed.)]