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Charles Gerhardt

Born 21 Aug 1816; died 19 Aug 1856 at age 39. Charles (-Frédéric) Gerhardt was a French chemist who, with Auguste Laurent, developed a classification of organic compounds. Like most chemists he was aware that the dualistic system of Jöns Berzelius was unsatisfactory and tried to create an alternative. He adopted what became known as type theory in which he thought all organic compounds were based on four main types - hydrogen, hydrogen chloride, ammonia, and water. Organic compounds were referred to these types by replacing a hydrogen atom in one of these compounds by a radical (i.e., by a group of atoms). His idea was opposed by his contemporaries and was later abandoned, but it proved important in the subsequent rationalization of structural organic chemistry.

A Smart Response

My wife and I were comparing notes the other day. 'I have a higher IQ, did better on my SAT's, and make more money than you,' she pointed out.
'Yeah, but when you step back and look at the big picture, I’m still ahead,' I said.
She looked mystified. 'How do you figure?'
'I married better,' I replied.

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