Wackenroder, Heinrich Wilhelm Ferdinand

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(b. Burgdorf, near Hannover, Germany, 8 March 1798; d. Jena, Germany, 4 September 1854), pharmacy.

Wackenroder was the son of Heinrich Wackenroder, a physician and apothecary in Burgdorf, and Charlotte Rougemont. He completed his apothecary’s training in nearby Celle and worked for a time in his father’s shop. In 1819 he went to Göttingen, where, in addition to pharmacy and natural science, he studied mathematics and medicine. After two and a half years he returned to Burgdorf and in 1824 passed the pharmacy examination. In 1825 Wackenroder became assistant to Friedrich Stromeyer in the pharmacy institute at Göttingen, where he gained experience in teaching and, by accompanying Stromeyer, in the inspection of apothecary shops. In 1827 he received a doctor of philosophy degree at Erlangen. In 1828 Wackenroder became a Privatdozent at Göttingen and in the same year accepted an offer to succeed Carl Göbel, as extraordinary professor, at the University of Jena. He was promoted to professor in 1836 and for the rest of his life was director of the pharmacy institute and inspector of apothecary shops for the grand duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.

Wackenroder was exceptionally successful as a teacher, researcher, and scientific writer, and, most important, he made pharmacy an independent science. Besides the principal subjects of the curriculum he instituted special courses in forensic chemistry, phytochemistry, zoochemistry, toxicology, pharmaceutical technology, and merchandizing. He was the author of several textbooks, and his Chemische Tabellen zur Analyse der unorganischen Verbindungen (1829) went through five editions by 1843. From 1838 to 1854 he was coeditor of Archiv der Pharmazie. In this and in other specialized journals he reported on his many experimental investigations, chief among which was his work on phytochemistry. He discovered corydaline in the bulbs of Corydalis tuberosa, carotene in carrots, and solanine in potato sprouts. His name is commemorated by “Wackenroder’s solution,” a solution of polythionic acids formed when diluted sulfurous acid is treated with hydrogen sulfide.


I. Original Works. Wackenroder’s books include Chemische Tabellen zur Analyse der unorganischen Verbindungen (Jena, 1829; 5th ed., 1843); Anleitung zur qualitativen chemischen Analyse (Jena, 1836); Ausführliche Charakteristik der stickstofffreien organischen Säuren nebst Anleitung zur qualitativen chemischen Analyse (Jena, 1841); and Chemische Classifactin der einfachen und zusammengesetzten Körper (Jena, 1851). For his journal articles, see Royal Society Catalogue of Scientific Papers, VI, 219 – 221; VIII, 1177; and XII, 763 – 765.

II. Secondary Literature. On Wackenroder and his work, see Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, XL, 443 – 444; Kurt Brauer, “Goethe und die Chemie,” in Zeitschrift für angewandte Chemie, 37 (1924), 185 – 189; Fritz Chemnitius, Die Chemie in Jena von Rolfinck bis Knorr (Jena, 1929) 32 – 33; Fritz Ferchl, ed., Chemisch-Pharmazeutisches Bio- und Bibliographikon (Mittenwald, 1938), 561 – 562; H. Ludwig and E. Reichardt, “Biographisches Denkmal für Heinrich Wilhelm Ferdinand Wackenroder,” in Archiv der Pharmazie, 135 (1856), 101 – 111; Poggendorff, II, 1237; Eduard Reichardt, “Bericht über die Jubelfeier des Geheimen Hofraths und Professors Dr. H. Wackenroder …,” in Archiv der Pharmazie, 126 (1853), 321 – 341; Wolfgang Schneider, “Wackenroders Jubiläum,” in Die pharmazeutische Industrie, 15 (1953), 403 – 405; and Otto Zekert, Berühmte Apotheker (Stuttgart, 1955), 151.

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