Hermann Fehling and Chemistry at the Polytechnic
By Beate Ceranski and Volker Ziegler
While his nephew Ferdinand Fehling was studying in Göttingen, his nickname was "Lösung" ("solution"): so close was (and is) the connection between the name of Hermann Fehling and the copper (II) sulphate solution used as a test for sugar. To this day Fehling's solution is part of the repertoire of medicine, pharmacy and chemistry.
But there is much more to the figure of Fehling, a Chemistry teacher at Stuttgart Polytechnical School from 1839 to 1883, than just a solution. He made Chemistry at Stuttgart into a show-piece and crowd-puller. He inspired and supported the industrialisation of Württemberg through his reports and research work. He battled with health problems, but built new institutes nevertheless. He travelled and wrote, and investigated medicines, blast furnace clinker, water and bread.