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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index F > Constantin Fahlberg Quotes

Thumbnail of Constantin Fahlberg (source)
Constantin Fahlberg
(22 Dec 1850 - 15 Aug 1910)

Russian chemist who discovered saccharin, an artificial sweetener (27 Feb 1879). He subsequently became wealthy by establishing a factory to produce it.

Science Quotes by Constantin Fahlberg (1 quote)

Detail from Cenotaph for Constantin Fahlberg
Detail from Cenotaph for Constantin Fahlberg. (source)
How did I discover saccharin? Well, it was partly by accident and partly by study. I had worked a long time on the compound radicals and substitution products of coal tar... One evening I was so interested in my laboratory that I forgot about my supper till quite late, and then rushed off for a meal without stopping to wash my hands. I sat down, broke a piece of bread, and put it to my lips. It tasted unspeakably sweet. I did not ask why it was so, probably because I thought it was some cake or sweetmeat. I rinsed my mouth with water, and dried my moustache with my napkin, when, to my surprise the napkin tasted sweeter than the bread. Then I was puzzled. I again raised my goblet, and, as fortune would have it, applied my mouth where my fingers had touched it before. The water seemed syrup. It flashed on me that I was the cause of the singular universal sweetness, and I accordingly tasted the end of my thumb, and found it surpassed any confectionery I had ever eaten. I saw the whole thing at once. I had discovered some coal tar substance which out-sugared sugar. I dropped my dinner, and ran back to the laboratory. There, in my excitement, I tasted the contents of every beaker and evaporating dish on the table.
— Constantin Fahlberg
Interview with American Analyst. Reprinted in Pacific Record of Medicine and Surgery (1886), 1, No. 3, 78.
Science quotes on:  |  Accident (90)  |  Applied (176)  |  Artificial (35)  |  Ask (412)  |  Back (392)  |  Beaker (4)  |  Bread (40)  |  Cake (5)  |  Cause (547)  |  Coal (60)  |  Coal Tar (2)  |  Compound (114)  |  Discover (558)  |  Discovery (812)  |  Down (455)  |  Dropped (17)  |  End (594)  |  Excitement (55)  |  Finger (44)  |  Flash (49)  |  Fortune (50)  |  Interest (399)  |  Laboratory (200)  |  Late (119)  |  Long (788)  |  Meal (19)  |  Mouth (53)  |  Napkin (2)  |  Product (161)  |  Puzzle (44)  |  Radical (27)  |  Research (728)  |  Saccharin (2)  |  Saw (160)  |  Serendipity (15)  |  Singular (23)  |  Study (666)  |  Substance (249)  |  Sugar (25)  |  Supper (10)  |  Surpass (32)  |  Surprise (86)  |  Sweet (39)  |  Sweetness (12)  |  Table (104)  |  Taste (91)  |  Thing (1914)  |  Thought (962)  |  Thumb (17)  |  Time (1886)  |  Touch (144)  |  Universal (191)  |  Wash (22)  |  Water (491)  |  Whole (740)  |  Why (490)  |  Work (1368)

See also:
  • 22 Dec - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Fahlberg's birth.
  • Constantin Fahlberg - Discovery of Saccharin
  • 27 Feb - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of discovery of saccharin.
  • Empty Pleasures: The Story of Artificial Sweeteners from Saccharin to Splenda, by Carolyn de la Pena. - book suggestion.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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