Ostwald, Friedrich Wilhelm (1853–1932)

Friedrich Wilhelm Ostwald

Friedrich Ostwald was a Latvian-born German physical chemist, regarded as the father of physical chemistry, who was awarded the 1909 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on catalysis.


Ostwald became professor of chemistry at Leipzig University (1887–1906), and remained in Germany for the rest of his life. His work on solutions led him to formulate Ostwald's dilution law, which deals with the dissociation of weak electrolytes. His process for preparing nitric acid, now known as the Ostwald process, and his research on catalysis became important in industry.