Lazăr Edeleanu

Lazăr Edeleanu (September 1, 1862, Bucharest – April 7, 1941, Bucharest), great Romanian chemist, the first to synthesize the Amphetamine and the inventor of the modern method to refine crude oil.


Little Lazăr, showing real skills to acquire scientific knowledge, is sent at the age of 12 years in Bucharest to continue his studies. He studied at St. Sava College, working hard for one year after sustaining baccalaureate (1882) to spare money to enroll at university. After graduating, he studied chemistry at the Berlin University, with A.W. Hofmann, C.F. Rammelsberg and H.L. Helmholtz.

In 1887 obtained the title of Doctor in Chemistry with the thesis "On the derivatives of fatty fenil=metacrilic and fenil-izobutiric acids", in which it finds fenil-izopropilamine, known in medicine as benzedrine, with an important action on the nervous system stimulants. Edeleanu leave for a period in London and works as a lecturer at the Royal College of Artilery. During this period he worked with Ch.F. Cross and E.J. Bevan to obtain a type of artificial fireproof silk and with R. Meldola to obtain oxazine-based dye. Back in the country, has won the appreciation of the great chemist Constantin I. Istrati, who keep him as assistant and then as a lecturer in Organic Chemistry Department of the Faculty of Sciences in Bucharest. In 1906 is appointed Head of Laboratory of Chemistry of the Geologic Institute (founded in that year) and while director of the Vega Refinery. The following year, 1907, is part of the organizing committee of the Congress of Petroleum in Bucharest and published together with Ion Tănăsescu an important monograph on Romanian oil - physical and technical properties.


1908 is the year of his most significant invention - the Edeleanu process, consisting of refining the petroleum with liquid sulfur dioxide as a selective solvent, which provide selective extraction of aromatic hydrocarbons (benzene, toluene, xylene, etc.). The procedure was first applied experimentally in Romania at the Vega refinery, in France (in Rouen, the German Borsig Company) and subsequently the world (in 1960 there were 80 Edeleanu facilities in different countries of the world). "The Edeleanu method", highlight Costin D. Neniţescu, "became and is still today, as its many variations, the basic process of manufacturing high quality oils".

He obtained 212 patents for inventions, in Romania, but also in USA, Germany, France, Austria, Sweden, Holland etc. He was a member of the Society of Natural Sciences in Moscow (since 1910), honorary member of the Institution of Petroleum Technologists in London (1925) and in 1932 was awarded the medal Redwod for the entire scientific activity undertaken.

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