Jędrzej Śniadecki

Jędrzej Śniadecki (archaic Andrew Sniadecki; Lithuanian: Andrius Sniadeckis; 30 November 1768 – 11 May 1838[1]) was a Polish writer, physician, chemist, biologist and philosopher. His achievements include being the first person who linked rickets to lack of sunlight. He also created modern Polish terminology in the field of chemistry.[1][2][3]

Jędrzej Śniadecki
Jędrzej Śniadecki.PNG
1843 painting by Aleksander Sleńdziński
Born(1768-11-30)30 November 1768
Died11 May 1838(1838-05-11) (aged 69)
Resting placeRossa Cemetery
OccupationWriter, physician, chemist, biologist
ChildrenLudwika Śniadecka (1802–1866)
RelativesJan Śniadecki (brother)

Life and workEdit

Śniadecki on a 2018 stamp of Lithuania

Śniadecki was born in Żnin (Greater Poland region) in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. After completing his university studies at the Chief Crown School in Kraków, he resided for some time in Italy and Scotland. In 1797, he was appointed to the Chair of Chemistry in the Medicine Faculty at the Main School in Vilnius (Wilno, Vilna),[1] which in 1803 was renamed the Imperial University of Vilna. One of his students was Ignacy Domeyko. Śniadecki was also one of the main organizers and head of the recently created Wilno Medical-Surgical Academy. In 1806–1836 he headed the local Medical Scientific Society, one of the premier scientific societies in the region.

Śniadecki's most important book was Początki chemii (The Beginnings of Chemistry), the first Polish-language chemistry textbook, prepared for the Commission of National Education. It was considered one of the best Polish scientific textbooks of the age and was used in Polish universities well into the 1930s. Śniadecki was also known as a writer of less serious works; a co-founder of Towarzystwo Szubrawców (The Wastrel Society), he contributed articles to its satirical weekly, Wiadomości Brukowe (The Pavement News). He also wrote copiously in Wiadomości Wileńskie (The Vilnius' News), the largest and most prestigious daily in Vilnius.

In 1807, Śniadecki announced he had discovered a new metal in platinum and called it "vestium". Three years later, Académie de France published a note saying that the experiment could not be reproduced. Discouraged by this, Śniadecki dropped all his claims and did not talk about vestium anymore. Nevertheless, there have been speculations that this new element was ruthenium, found 37 years later by Karl Klaus. However, they are not accepted by modern sources.[4]

Jędrzej was the brother of Jan Śniadecki and father of Ludwika Śniadecka. He died in Vilnius and is buried at the Horodnyki Cemetery in Ashmyany distrtic in Belarus.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Śniadecki Jędrzej - Encyklopedia PWN - źródło wiarygodnej i rzetelnej wiedzy". encyklopedia.pwn.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  2. ^ Wicha, Jerzy (2012). "Droga pod słońce. Wczesna historia witaminy D". Wiadomości Chemiczne. 66: 671–696 – via Infona.
  3. ^ Wu-Wong, J. Ruth, ed. (2012). Why Does Vitamin d Matter?. Bentham Science Publishers. p. 26. ISBN 978-1608055111.
  4. ^ Marshall, James L.; Marshall, Virginia R. (2010). "Reinvestigating vestium, one of the spurious platinum metals" (PDF). Bull. Hist. Chem. 35 (1): 33–39. ISSN 1053-4385.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit