Text: http://www.chemistry.scnat.ch

In 1852 Adolf von Planta (1820 - 1895) had a laboratory in one aisle of Reichenau Castle built. On site von Planta performed research in natural sciences such as water and soil analysis, physiological processes, and botany. Between 1852 and 1853, he was assisted by August Kekulé (1829 - 1896), who had just completed doctoral studies under the supervision of Justus von Liebig. They worked together on alkaloid analysis e.g. nicotine. Later in his career, Kekulé made important discoveries in organic and structural chemistry which include the tetravalency of the carbon atom and was the first to propose a cyclic structure for benzene. The laboratory has been maintained in its original setting and is therefore a testimony of research from the mid-19th century.

Adolf von Planta
August Kekule
August Kekulé and Adolf von Planta (Copyright: Gian-Battista von Tscharner)


The award ceremony was held on 12 September 2014 in Reichenau, during which a commemorative plate was revealed and affixed at the entrance of the castle.

The ceremony was opened by Prof. Dr. Katharina Fromm, President of the «Platform Chemistry» at SCNAT, who welcomed the audience and presented the « Chemical Landmark » programm. Gian-Battista von Tscharner, owner of the Reichenau castle, then presented a retrospective of the site. The importance of contributions made by Kekulé was stressed in the laudatio of Prof. Dr. Richard R. Schrock, professor at MIT and Nobel laureate in chemistry 2005.


Mira Portmann
SCNAT, Platform Chemistry
+41 31 310 40 96

More information: 


David Spichiger, SCS