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1. Family problems
A. Dmitri Mendeleev was a Russian chemist and inventor who developed the Periodic Law and a periodic table of chemical elements. This allowed him to predict the properties of elements that had not yet been discovered at the time. He is internationally recognised as one of the greats of the world of science and scientific research.
B. Dmitri Mendeleev was born in 1834 in the village of Verkhnie Aremzyani near the Siberian city of Tobolsk. He was the youngest child in a very large family. Although the exact number is not known, he had between eleven and sixteen brothers and sisters. In his early years, the family was quite well-off, as Mendeleevs father was a teacher of fine arts, philosophy and politics.
C. The Mendeleev family fortunes changed when Dmitri’s father became blind and had to give up teaching. His wife was now forced to work to support the family, and she re-opened an old glass factory which belonged to her family. But later, the factory was destroyed in a fire and, because of poverty, the family had to move to Saint Petersburg.
D. Dmitri Mendeleev began his scientific career teaching chemistry, and by 1864 he had been made a professor at Saint Petersburg State University. He soon began to be noticed by chemists around the world, and it wasn’t long before he had turned Saint Petersburg into an international centre of excellence in the field of chemistry research.
E. Mendeleev was not the first to work on a periodic table of elements. Another scientist, Lothar Meyer from Germany, published an almost identical table a few months after Mendeleev. However, only Mendeleevs table contained predictions of undiscovered elements. Many scientists didn’t believe his predictions, but two of the missing elements were later discovered, establishing without doubt the accuracy of his table.
F. Apart from his work in the field of chemistry research, Mendeleev was a founder member of the Russian Chemical Society. He also helped establish the first oil refinery in Russia and was, at one time, director of the Russian Bureau of Weights and Measures. Finally, Mendeleev is also credited with having introduced the metric system into Russia.
G. Mendeleev died at the age of 72 in 1907. His life is commemorated with a museum in his honour at Saint Petersburg State University. A street in Saint Petersburg is named after him, as well as a crater on the far side of the moon. The Russian Academy of Sciences annually awards the Mendeleev Gold Medal for achievements in chemical science and technology.
A – 3
B – 8
C – 1
D – 2
E – 7
F – 5
G – 6