Famous Chemists from Belgium

List of notable or famous chemists from Belgium, with bios and photos, including the top chemists born in Belgium and even some popular chemists who immigrated to Belgium. If you're trying to find out the names of famous Belgian chemists then this list is the perfect resource for you. These chemists are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known chemist from Belgium is included when available.

List contains people like Leo Baekeland and Jan Baptist van Helmont.

This historic chemists from Belgium list can help answer the questions "Who are some Belgian chemists of note?" and "Who are the most famous chemists from Belgium?" These prominent chemists of Belgium may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected Belgian chemists.

Use this list of renowned Belgian chemists to discover some new chemists that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page. {#nodes}

  • Désiré van Monckhoven
    Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Public domain
    Désiré Charles Emanuel van Monckhoven (1834–1882) was a Belgian chemist, physicist, and photographic researcher. He was also an inventor and author. He wrote several of the earliest books on photography and photographic optics. His original French works were later translated to English and other languages. He invented or developed an enlarger (1864), a dry collodion process (1871), improvements of the carbon print process (1875–80), and improved silver-bromide gelatine emulsions.
    • Age: Dec. at 48 (1834-1882)
  • Ernest Solvay
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    Ernest Gaston Joseph Solvay (French: [sɔlvɛ]; 16 April 1838 – 26 May 1922) was a Belgian chemist, industrialist and philanthropist. Born at Rebecq, he was prevented by acute pleurisy from going to university. He worked in his uncle's chemical factory from the age of 21. In 1861, he developed the ammonia-soda process for the manufacturing of soda ash (anhydrous sodium carbonate) from brine (as a source of sodium chloride) and limestone (as a source of calcium carbonate). The process was an improvement over the earlier Leblanc process. He founded the company Solvay & Cie and established his first factory at Couillet (now merged into Charleroi, Belgium) in 1863 and further perfected the process until 1872, when he patented it. Soon, Solvay process plants were established in the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and Austria. Today, about 70 Solvay process plants are still operational worldwide. The exploitation of his patents brought Solvay considerable wealth, which he used for philanthropic purposes, including the establishment in 1894 of the "Institut des Sciences Sociales" (ISS) or Institute for Sociology at the Free University of Brussels (now split into the Université Libre de Bruxelles and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel), as well as International Institutes for Physics and Chemistry. In 1903, he founded the Solvay Business School which is also part of the Free University of Brussels. In 1911, he began a series of important conferences in physics, known as the Solvay Conferences, whose participants included luminaries such as Max Planck, Ernest Rutherford, Maria Skłodowska-Curie, Henri Poincaré, and (then only 32 years old) Albert Einstein. A later conference would include Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Max Born, and Erwin Schrödinger. He was twice elected to the Belgian Senate for the Liberal Party and granted honorary title of Minister of State at the end of his life. Solvay, New York and Rosignano Solvay, the locations of the first Solvay process plants in the United States and in Italy, are also named after him. Solvay died at Ixelles at the age of 84 and is interred there in the Ixelles Cemetery.
    • Age: Dec. at 84 (1838-1922)
    • Birthplace: Rebecq, Belgium
  • Gilbert Stork (December 31, 1921 – October 21, 2017) was an organic chemist. For a quarter of a century he was the Eugene Higgins Professor of Chemistry Emeritus at Columbia University. He is known for making significant contributions to the total synthesis of natural products, including a lifelong fascination with the synthesis of quinine. In so doing he also made a number of contributions to mechanistic understanding of reactions, and performed pioneering work on enamine chemistry, leading to development of the Stork enamine alkylation. It is believed he was responsible for the first planned stereocontrolled synthesis as well as the first natural product to be synthesised with high stereoselectivity.Stork was also an accomplished mentor of young chemists and many of his students have gone on to make significant contributions in their own right.
    • Age: 101
    • Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium
  • Viscount Ilya Romanovich Prigogine (; Russian: Илья́ Рома́нович Приго́жин; 25 January [O.S. 12 January] 1917 – 28 May 2003) was a physical chemist and Nobel laureate noted for his work on dissipative structures, complex systems, and irreversibility.
    • Age: Dec. at 86 (1917-2003)
    • Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
  • Jan Baptist van Helmont
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    Jan Baptist van Helmont (; Dutch: [ˈɦɛlmɔnt]; 12 January 1580 – 30 December 1644) was a chemist, physiologist, and physician from the Spanish Netherlands. He worked during the years just after Paracelsus and the rise of iatrochemistry, and is sometimes considered to be "the founder of pneumatic chemistry". Van Helmont is remembered today largely for his ideas on spontaneous generation, his 5-year tree experiment, and his introduction of the word "gas" (from the Greek word chaos) into the vocabulary of science. His name is also found rendered as Jan-Baptiste van Helmont, Johannes Baptista van Helmont, Johann Baptista von Helmont, Joan Baptista van Helmont, and other minor variants switching between von and van.
    • Age: Dec. at 64 (1580-1644)
    • Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium
  • Jean Louis Auguste Brachet (19 March 1909 – 10 August 1988) was a Belgian biochemist who made a key contribution in understanding the role of RNA.
    • Age: Dec. at 79 (1909-1988)
    • Birthplace: Belgium