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Famous Chemists: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

There have been many famous scientists called chemists that have made important discoveries. Come learn about some of these chemists, what they discovered and some other interesting facts about them.

Chemists and What They Do

If you've ever guzzled a cold glass of pasteurized milk, enjoyed a fizzy soda or made a cup of hot cocoa from a powdery mix, you can thank a chemist. Chemists are scientists that study chemicals and reactions, do research and perform experiments that often lead to new discoveries. Some chemists have become famous for their important findings that have helped to make our lives better. Let's look at a few of these scientists, including Louis Pasteur, George Washington Carver and Marie Curie.

Louis Pasteur

Louis Pasteur (pronounced LOO-ee pass-TUR) was born in France in 1822 and grew up to become a very famous scientist who made many important discoveries, including in chemistry.

He proved that tiny, living organisms caused food and drinks like milk to go bad and developed a way to heat and cool them to kill the organisms. This process became known as pasteurization (pronounced PASS-chur-ih-ZAY-shun) and made food, like milk, safer to drink. If you take a look in your refrigerator, you'll see that your milk is pasteurized.

Pasteur also discovered that tiny organisms got inside the human body and made people sick. When he weakened the organisms and put them back in the body, he found that the immune system figured out how to fight them off like a ninja so they wouldn't make a person sick anymore. These were the first vaccinations. And though you probably don't like getting them when you go to the doctor, they help to keep you healthy.

Louis Pasteur
Louis Pasteur

George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver was an African American scientist who was born around 1864 in Missouri; his parents were slaves. Although it was uncommon for African Americans to be accepted to college at that time, Carver earned a bachelor's and master's degree.

Carver was a scientist and expert on plants and farming as well as a successful inventor and teacher. He worked in the area of chemurgy (pronounced KEM-ur-jee), a branch of chemistry that looks for ways to use crops for products other than food.

As a chemist, Carver developed inks and dyes made from sweet potatoes, but he's most famous for his use of peanuts. Besides using peanuts to make hundreds of things like milk, butter and oil, he also figured out how to use peanuts to make things like medicines, lotions, powders and face creams.

George Washington Carver
George Washington Carver

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