Baumhauer, Heinrich Adolf

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Baumhauer, Heinrich Adolf

(b. Bonn, Germany, 26 October 1848; d. Fribourg, Switzerland, 1 August 1926)

chemistry, mineralogy.

Baumhauer, the son of a lithographer and merchant, studied chemistry under Kekulé at Bonn and in 1869 earned his degree with the dissertation “Die Reduction des Nitrobenzols durch Chlor-und Bromwasserstoff.” After a further year of study at Göttingen he briefly held three teaching posts before serving as teacher of chemistry at the agricultural school of Lüdinghausen, Westphalia, from 1873 to 1896. In that year he was called to the young University of Fribourg as its first professor of mineralogy; during his first ten years there he also taught inorganic chemistry.

Although Baumhauer was trained as a chemist, crystallography and mineralogy were his principal interests and he is generally regarded as a mineralogist. In spite of a heavy work load—he was a conscientious teacher—Baumhauer always had time for research, which at first was chemical. In 1870 he wrote a tract on the relation between atomic weights and the properties of elements. In it he commented on the work of Mendeleev and Lothar Meyer, and proposed a spiral arrangement for the periodic table. He also wrote a textbook of inorganic chemistry (1884) and one of organic chemistry (1885).

At Lüdinghausen, Baumhauer’s interest turned to crystallography and mineralogy. He wrote a short text on mineralogy (1884) and, soon thereafter, a popular work on crystallography. Baumhauer is best known for his study of the etch figures produced on crystal faces by various solvents, a method of study that for a long time provided one of the principal means for establishing the symmetry of crystals. His Die Resultate der Aetzmethode (1894) was the standard and only work on the subject until it was supplemented in 1927 by A. P. Honess’ book.

Soon after the appearance of Resultate, Baumhauer added other fields to the scope of his research. He became the foremost authority on the sulfosalts of the Binnental occurrence, and made extensive morphological studies of minerals. During his last decades his chief interest was comparative crystal morphology. He gathered material for a book on this subject, which was edited by his successor, Leonhard Weber, and published as an extended article.


Complete bibliographies of Baumhauer’s works are in Poggendorff, III, 84; IV, 78–79, and V, 75; in Schweizerische mineralogische und petrographische Mitteilungen, 6 (1926), 391–397, following a short autobiography dated July 1896; and in Verhandlungen der Schweizerischen Naturforschenden Gesellschaft, 107 (1926), Anhang, 3–15, following a fine biographical sketch by Leonhard Weber.

Among his books are Die Beziehungen zwischen dem Atomgewichte und der Natur der chemischen Elemente (Brunswick, 1870); Kurzes Lehrbuch der Mineralogie (einschliesslich Petrographie) (Freiburg im Breisgau, 1884); Leitfaden der Chemie. I. Anorganische Chemie (Freiburg im Breisgau, 1884); Leitfaden der Chemie. II. Organische Chemie (Freiburg im Breisgau, 1885); Das Reich der Kristalle (Leipzig, 1889); and Die Resultate der Aetzmethode in der krystallographischen Forschung (Leipzig, 1894). His articles include “Über die Einwirkung von Brom- und Chlorwasserstoff auf Nitrobenzol,” in Zeitschrift für Chemie, n.s. 5 (1869), 198; “Über die Einwirkung von Bromwasserstoff auf Nitrobenzol,” in Berichte der Deutschen chemische Gesellschaft, 2 (1869), 122; and “Beitrag zur vergleichenden Kristallographie,” Leonhard Weber, ed., in Schweizerische mineralogische und petrographische Mitteilungen, 5 (1925), 348–426.

Arthur P. Honess, The Nature, Origin and Interpretation of Etch Figures on Crystals (New York, 1927), is the principal work continuing the studies summarized in the Resultate and contains many references to Baumhauer.

A. Pabst