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Johan Jakobinpoika Gadolin

Swedish: Johan Jakobson Gadolin
Birthdate: (92)
Birthplace: Turku, Finland
Death: August 15, 1852 (92)
Mynämäki, Finland
Immediate Family:

Son of Jakob Gadolin and Elisabet Browallia
Husband of Ebba Katarina Palander and Hedvig Magdalena Emanuelsdotter Thileman
Father of Hedvig Elisabeth Gadolin; Jakob Algot Gadolin; Johanna Ulrika Johansdotter Gadolin; Johan Emanuel Gadolin; Sofia Magdalena Spåre and 3 others
Brother of Gustaf Gadolin; Anders Gadolin; Elisabeth Gadolin and Wilhelm Gadolin

Occupation: Professor, Turun yliopiston kemian professori, Kemisti, geologi
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Johan Gadolin, vihitty Turussa 24.3.1820

Johan Gadolin (5 June 1760 – 15 August 1852) was a Finnish chemist, physicist and mineralogist. Gadolin discovered the chemical element yttrium. He is also considered the founder of Finnish chemistry research, as the second holder of the Chair of Chemistry at the Royal Academy of Turku.

Johan Gadolin was born in Turku, Finland (then a part of Sweden), as the son of Jakob Gadolin. He began to study mathematics at the Royal Academy of Turku when he was fifteen. Soon he found mathematics too laborious and changed his major to chemistry. In 1779 Gadolin moved to Uppsala University where he was taught by Torbern Bergman. In 1790, he was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Gadolin became famous when he discovered the first rare earth element. In 1792 Gadolin received a sample of black, heavy mineral found in a quarry in the Swedish village Ytterby near Stockholm. By careful experiments, he isolated a rare earth oxide which was later named yttria. He also isolated in the same study yttrium trihydroxide. Yttria, or yttrium oxide, was the first known rare earth metal compound — at that time, it was regarded as an element. The work was published in 1794. The mineral that Gadolin examined was named gadolinite in 1800. The element gadolinium and its oxide gadolinia were named after Gadolin by its discoverers. In an earlier paper in 1788 Gadolin showed that the same element can show several oxidation states, in his case Sn(II) and Sn(IV) 'by combining itself with larger or smaller amounts of the calcinating substance'. He vividly described the disproportionation reaction: 2 Sn(II) Sn(0) + Sn(IV). Gadolin also studied specific heats and latent heats in 1787–92. This thermochemical work was very precise. One of his latest studies was the chemical analysis of the Chinese alloy pak tong (alpacca, German silver) in 1810 and 1827. Gadolin became the professor of chemistry at the Royal Academy of Turku in 1797. He was one of the first chemists who gave laboratory exercises to students. He even allowed the students to use his private laboratory. Gadolin wrote the first anti-phlogiston chemistry textbook in the Nordic countries. He was close friends with Johan Gottlieb Gahn and Carl Wilhelm Scheele. Gadolin is also famous for publishing one of the earliest examples of counter-current condensers, today usually referred to as Liebig condensers.


Dean, P B; Dean, K I (August 1996). "Sir Johan Gadolin of Turku: the grandfather of gadolinium.". Academic Radiology 3 (Suppl 2): S165–9. doi:10.1016/S1076-6332(96)80523-X. PMID 8796552 . Weeks, Mary Elvira (1932). "The discovery of the elements: XVI. The rare earth elements". Journal of Chemical Education 9 (10): 1751–1773. Bibcode 1932JChEd...9.1751W. doi:10.1021/ed009p1751. Sella, Andrea (2009). "Gadolin's Condenser". Chemistry World 6 (10): 81–81.

Johan Gadolin toimi Turun Soitannollisen seuran hallituksen jäsenenä vuosina 1791-96 ja rahastonhoitajana 1791-1792. (Turun Soitannollinen seura 1790-1965, s. 203).

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Johan Gadolin's Timeline

June 5, 1760
Turku, Finland
December 23, 1795
Age 35
Åbo, Finland
November 27, 1797
Age 37
Turku, Finland Proper, Finland
Age 38
Age 40
October 19, 1802
Age 42
Turku, Finland
May 24, 1807
Age 46
Åbo, Finland
Age 47
Age 52