John Ulric Nef (chemist)

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John Ulric Nef
Born (1862-06-14)June 14, 1862
Herisau, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Switzerland
Died August 13, 1915(1915-08-13) (aged 53)
Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, United States
Alma mater Harvard University,
University of Munich
Known for Nef reaction
Scientific career
Institutions Purdue University (1887–89)
Clark University (1889–92)
University of Chicago (1892–1915)
Doctoral advisor Adolf von Baeyer

John Ulric Nef (Johann Ulrich Nef; June 14, 1862 – August 13, 1915) was a Swiss-born American chemist and the discoverer of the Nef reaction and Nef synthesis.[1]


His parents emigrated from Switzerland to the United States where Nef studied chemistry at Harvard University until 1884. Upon graduation, he joined Adolf von Baeyer at the University of Munich where he received his Ph.D. in 1887.[2]

He was a Professor at Purdue University from 1887 till 1889 and at Clark University from 1889 till 1892. He spent the rest of his academic career at the University of Chicago.[2][1]

His son John Ulric Nef (1899–1988) became a Professor of Economic History and published several books.[2][1]


The discovery of the Nef reaction and the papers about divalent carbon (carbenes) were his major achievements.[2][1]


  1. ^ a b c d Wolfrom, Melville L. (1960). "John Ulric Nef: 1862—1915". Biographical Memoirs (PDF) (1st ed.). Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences. pp. 216–218. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Molella, Arthur P. (1990). "John U. Nef (1899-1988)". Technology and Culture. 31 (4): 916–920. JSTOR 3105944.
  • Biographical Note from the University of Chicago
  • Picture of Nef at MSU

External links

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