Ira Remsen

Ira Remsen was born on February 10, 1846 in New York city. Even though he was
born in the United States, he was educated in Germany. He received his M.D. at

Columbia University in 1867 and he also earned a Ph.D. at the University of

Munich and Göttingen in Germany. After receiving his degrees, Remsen began his
investigation in pure chemistry at the University of Tübingen. It was in

Germany and in Europe Remsen did most of his research. In 1876 he returned to
the United States where his became one of the original faculty of Johns Hopkins

University. There he founded the chemistry department. He was an excellent
professor who trained a generation of prominent chemists. He was also the

Director of the Chemical Laboratory and secretary of the Academic Council. In

1879, he was the founding editor of American Chemical Journal. Also in that same
year, he made a remarkable, accidental discovery with a fellow researcher

Constantine Fahlberg when they were working on a derivative of coal tar. One
night, after a long day in his laboratory He we was having dinner with wife.

When he was eating a regular roll. Remsen noticed that it was quite sweet at
first, but it left a bitter after-taste. He made his wife taste the bread and he
found nothing wrong or something unusual about the taste. So Remsen decided to
taste his fingers and there he found that same sweet then bitter taste despite
washing his hands thoroughly after working in his lab. After dinner, he returned
to his laboratory and started to taste all the chemicals he was handling. When
he found that chemical, it was oxidation of o-toluenesulfonamide and he called
it saccharin. In 1880, Remsen and Fahlberg published their findings in the

February issue of The Chemical Journal. Many people thought that it was

Constantine who discovered saccharin, but he stole the formula from Remsen. When
they stopped working together, Constantine patented the formula and became
filthy rich. As a result Remsen didn't received any credit for the discovery.

Constantine received the recognition that Remsen earned and rightfully deserved.

Remsen was furious at first about the matter; "it makes my blood boil to
see the lies that scoundrel Fahlberg constantly, constantly in print, and to see
further, that they are generally believed." Later Remsen would apologize
for this outburst. Remsen moved to bigger and better things. In 1901, he was
appointed President of Johns Hopkins University, there in that same year, he
wrote several important textbooks on chemistry. Remsen also found the School of

Engineering at Johns Hopkins. He introduced many German laboratory methods into

Johns Hopkins and emphasized the university's function as a research "centre".

At the time at Johns Hopkins he helped establish the school as a leading
graduate science teaching institute in the United States, never seeking fame or
fortune for his contributions to science. His work on the research-based

Doctoral program at Hopkins was considered important improvement to science in
the United States. In 1913, Dr. Ira Remsen stepped down as president at Johns

Hopkins University. Remsen still continued to keep chemistry the number one
priority in his life. He moved and resided in Carmel, California. Until his
passing away on March 4, 1927 of natural causes. Saccharin Saccharin is derived
from the Latin word saccharum, meaning sugar. Saccharin is also called Ortho-sulfobenzoic
acid imide; the formula is C6H4CONHSO2. Saccharin is a synthetic, white,
crystalline powder that melts at 228.08 to 229.7 degrees Celsius and very
soluble in water. It is 550 times as sweet as sugar cane. And it is also
estimated to have a sweetening power 375 times that of sugar. When saccharin is
dissolved in water in large amounts, the solution is very bitter. Sweetness is
only evident in a diluted solution. Saccharin cannot be digested by the body and
has no food values. Those who are diabetic and people who ate on weight reducing
diets use it in place of sugar. They used it for the psychological purpose of
satisfying a taste for sweetness. Many critics say that that saccharin can
itself stimulate the appetite and the production of insulin in the body. For
several years, saccharin has been under investigation as a risk for cancer. It
was banned in Canada in 1977 for that same reason. But in the United States

Public reaction has help to keep saccharin on the market. The Food and Drug

Administration requires that warning labels to be put on products containing
saccharin. Time Line of The Life of Ira Remsen 1846: Born on February 10th in

New York City Childhood - Lived and educated in Germany 1867: Received Masters

Degree from Columbia University 1870: Earned Ph.D. at Universities of Munich and

Gottingen in Germany. Started research into pure chemistry at University of

Tubingen. 1872: Moved back to the United States 1875: Became one of the original
faculties of Johns Hopkins university 1876: Founded the Chemistry department at

Johns Hopkins and became Director of the chemical laboratory 1879: Accidentally
discovered saccharin and founded The American Chemical Journal. Also wrote
important textbooks. 1887: Named Secretary of the Academic Council 1901: Became
president of Johns Hopkins university Ended his term of Secretary of the

Academic Council 1908: Stepped down as Director of Chemical Laboratory 1913:

Retired as President, a professor, and as the editor of American Chemical

Journal. 1927 Died on March 4th of natural causes.


1."Sacchrin"Microsoft®Encarta®Encyclopedia. © 1993-1997

Microsoft Corporation. 2."Ira Remsen"The Cambridge Dictionary of

American Biography, By J.S Bowmen. ©1995Cambridge University. 3.