Jabir ibn Hayyan is one of the most brilliant and intelligent scientists in the Golden Era of Muslims. He is famous for inventing various instruments for chemistry experiments, and he also performed many chemistry experiments himself. He found many new chemicals which include hydrochloric acid. Due to a lot of work in the field of chemistry, he is considered to be the founder of chemistry in the modern world.
Jabir ibn Hayyan, also called Geber, belongs to present day Iran and was born in the year 721. During his childhood, his family had to migrate to the land of Arabia where he got his early education from a scholar. His father was one of the supporters of Abbasside caliphate and died for the same reason.
When Abbasside caliph, Harun al-Rashid came into power, he was able to make connections with his ministers. Soon he became a physician and practiced medicine with the support of caliph. He was a famous physician and cured many powerful personalities. He also worked on many chemicals and experimented on them, and presented his work to the caliph Harun al-Rashid in the Book of Blossom.
When supporters of Jabir (Geber) were put to death by Caliph due to some reasons, he had fled to Kufa. In Kufa, Jabir (Geber) had set up a laboratory where he continued working on chemistry. Jabir could not hide from the caliph, he was house arrested and lived rest of his life in the arrest until he died on 815.
Discoveries and Contributions
Jabir Ibn Hayyan (Geber) contributed a lot in the field of chemistry. Some of the important discoveries and contributions he made are:
- He was the first to produce sulfuric acid and nitric acid. Sulfuric acid is a very famous acid that most people know about. It is because sulfuric acid is used in batteries of vehicles.
- He introduced many properties of a substance, such as warmth, coldness, moist, and dryness.
- He separated the elemental gold from impurities with the help of lead element and saltpeter.
- He found a method of purifying elemental mercury.
- There are some substances that can make the water softer; Jabir called these substances alkali.
- A mixture of acids, called aqua regia, was also manufactured by him. Aqua regia has the ability to dissolve elemental gold.
- Jabir developed more than 20 kinds of chemistry lab equipment; most of them are also used today in the laboratories. Some of the lab equipment that he made are retort and Alembic.
- He developed a method of purifying substances by the process of crystallization.
- Jabir ibn Hayyan (Geber) wrote more than 3,000 research articles and treatises in his life, and more than 70 books were translated into other languages.
- Jabir suggested a theory which states that metals are composed of sulfur and mercury. By varying the amount of these two substances, you get a new metal.