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Kasimir J. Fajans (1887-1975)

Kasimir Fajans, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Michigan was was born at Warsaw, Poland, May 27, 1887. He received his higher education at the Universities of Leipzig and Heidelberg in Germany, the Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, and at the University of Manchester, England. 

In 1929 he published Physikalisch-Chemisches Praktikum. From 1932 to 1935 he served as Director of the Laboratory for Physical Chemistry at the University of Munich. He left there, at the invitation of the University of Michigan, in 1936, when the situation became serious in Germany. 

When Professor Fajans joined the faculty of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts he had already established an international reputation in the field of physical chemistry and had published widely in such fields as radioactivity, thermochemistry, theory of chemical forces, and adsorption.  He was a brilliant and inspiring teacher at the University of Michigan, particularly at the graduate level. In the two decades that he was a member of the Department of Chemistry, he was outstanding for his ability to guide and inspire his students in their research.

Professor Fajans published nearly 200 scientific articles. He discovered the branching of radium transformation series in 1911, and in 1913 established radioactive displacement laws and also discovered the first isotope of the 91st element in the Periodic table; rather astounding scientific contributions for a young man to make within four years after receiving his doctoral degree. In the succeeding years he gained additional prestige through his research on isotopes, the precipitation rule of radio elements, heat of hydration of gaseous ions, thermo-chemistry, chemical binding, volumetric analysis by absorption indicators, theory of glasses, and the partial separation of d- and 1-stereo-chemical isomers by assymetrical catalysts. He was author of five scientific books.