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William Henry Perkin
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    (March 12, 1838-July 14, 1907)
    Born in London, United Kingdom
    Creator of mauveine (aniline purple synthetic dye; patent obtained in 1856)
    Namesake for the Perkin reaction (process for preparation of unsaturated acids)
    Namesake -- and first recipient -- of the Perkin Medal, created by the Society of Chemical Industry (1906)
    Knighted (1906)
    His father would have rather he – the youngest of seven – become an architect.
    On Easter break (1856), he was attempting to undertake the synthesis of quinine but ended up with a lot of sludge in its place.
    He had to conduct much of his early work in secret to avoid arousing the suspicions of his superior.
    Upon learning of the synthesis of alizarine (a red dye), he developed a cheaper procedure that lead to a lengthy monopoly on the manufacturing.
    The first artificial perfume – coumarin – is attributed to the Perkin reaction.
    His death, of pneumonia and other complications, was attributed to a burst appendix.
    When he cleaned the quinine beakers with alcohol, the brown sludge turned into a bluish substance that would greatly reduce the need for costly sourcing (especially from bat guano!).
    Queen Victoria would go on to showcase crinolines in variants of his signature color.
    He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in the year of his second marriage (1866).
    Having abandoned manufacturing in 1874, he committed himself to various branches of research — which still included chemical processes.
    The date of his 180th birthday was used to showcase a Google Doodle (visual commemoration of a person, location, or occurrence through the Google ident).

Credit: Cool It All Right?

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