Who was Friedrich Woehler?

   Friedrich Woehler (1800-1882) was an outstanding German chemist. When he was twenty-seven years old, Woehler obtained metallic aluminum by heating aluminum chloride with potassium. Then the following year he isolated BERYLLIUM. His greatest contribution to the progress of chemistry, however, was the synthesis of UREA, a crystalline compound containing nitrogen.
   Urea is the main solid part of the urine of man and other mammals. Synthesis is the process of making a compound by the union of simpler compounds or of its elements; the formation of urea was important because this was the first time anyone had made an organic compound from inorganic material.
   Woehler was born in Eschersheim, near Frankfurt-am-Main, on July 31, 1800. He was educated at Marburg and Heidelberg universities where he studied to be a physician and surgeon, later he accepted his professor's advice when he suggested that Woehler give up medicine and devote his life to chemistry.
   In 1836 he was invited to become the professor of chemistry at the Gottingen medical school. While he was there, he attracted and trained many young chemists who became prominent throughout the world.