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Gmelin Johann Georg

The German botanist Johann Georg Gmelin (1709-1755) was born as the son of a famous Württemberg family of researchers who produced a number of important scientists. He completed his studies of medicine and natural sciences in Tübingen with distinction and in 1731, at the age of 22, he was awarded the title of professor of chemistry and natural history. In 1724, Tsar Peter the Great (1672-1725) appointed him assistant professor of natural sciences at the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg. In 1733, he and a group of experts started the Great Nordic Expedition, which was to last ten years. During this expedition he studied the flora of Siberia and the north-east Asian peninsula of Kamchakta, including the diversity of wild vines there. He wrote the book "Flora sibirica sive Historia plantarum sibiriae" about this. Gmelin was the first to distinguish the wild vine named after him, Vitis vinifera ssp. sylvestris Gmelin, as a separate subspecies of the species Vitis vinifera. However, the part of the name "Gmelin" is usually omitted. The Russian botanist N. I. Vavilov (1887-1943) distinguished a second subspecies named after him (see vine systematics). Johann Georg Gmelin was uncle of the chemist Leopold Gmelin (1788-1853). He became famous with the "Handbook of Inorganic Chemistry", in which he recorded the entire chemical knowledge of his time. Among other things, he worked on the yellow salt of prussiate of potash and created the term ester.

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