Julius Lothar Meyer was born on August 19, 1830,` in the small town of Farel in the province of Oldenburg, in the family of a doctor. With poor health, he was able to finish high school only by the age of twenty-one. After school, following the example of his father, Meyer began to study medicine, and in 1854 received a doctorate from the University of Würzburg.
After university, Meyer worked in the laboratory of R. Bunsen in Heidelberg, where he studied gas exchange in the human body. In his works “Blood gases” and “On the effect of gaseous carbon monoxide on the blood” Meyer showed that during breathing oxygen combines with the hemoglobin of the blood; carbon monoxide, having a high affinity for hemoglobin, prevent it from combining with oxygen.
In 1859 he defended, as a thesis for the right to lecture, the historical and critical work “Chemical theories from Berthollet to Berzelius.” From 1860, Meyer began to study mainly that area of chemistry, which was later called physical chemistry.
In 1860, Meyer took part in the International Congress of Chemists in Karlsruhe, where the definitions of the basic concepts of chemistry were discussed. D.I. Mendeleev. There it was decided to clearly distinguish between the concepts of “atom”, “molecule” and “equivalent”. As a result of this, the problem of atomic masses was basically solved, which opened the way for the systematization of chemical elements and the creation of periodic law.
In 1864, Meyer published his work “Modern Theories of Chemistry”, in which he gave his first table, in which 42 elements (out of 63) were arranged in accordance with their valences and atomic masses. In 1870, Meyer’s article “The Nature of Chemical Elements as a Function of Their Atomic Weight” appeared in the Annals of Chemistry and Pharmacy. The basis for the systematization carried out by Meyer was the relationship between the atomic weights and the atomic volumes of elements, which has the form of a periodic function.
The Royal Society of London in 1882 awarded the Davy gold medals jointly to Mendeleev and Meyer with the formulation “For the discovery of the periodic ratios of atomic weights.”
Julius Lothar Meyer died on April 11, 1895, in Tübingen (Germany).