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Oxidative Decarboxylation

Oxidative Decarboxylation of Carboxylic Acids: Hermann Kolbe

Hermann Kolbe was born on September 27, 1818, in Elliehausen near Göttigen. He studied chemistry with Wöhler and Bunsen and in 1851 was appointed professor in Marburg succeeding Bunsen. In 1865, he moved to Leipzig where he remained until his death on November 25, 1884.

He discovered the synthesis of acetic acid, considered to be the first total synthesis of an organic compound from inorganic starting materials. He developed processes for the preparation of nitriles and hydrocarbons and the so-called Kolbe synthesis. The synthesis of salicylic acid, jointly developed by him and Schmitt, is known as Kolbe-Schmitt reaction. Additionally, he was the publisher of the Journal für praktische Chemie.

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