03/02/24 17:28

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The first organic compound to be synthesized in a laboratory setting was urea. This marked a significant milestone in the field of chemistry, as it was the first time an organic compound was artificially synthesized from inorganic starting materials, without the involvement of living organisms. The synthesis of urea from inorganic chemicals played a crucial role in discrediting the theory of vitalism, which posited that the chemicals of living organisms were fundamentally different from those of inanimate matter.

The synthesis of urea is attributed to Friedrich Wöhler, a German chemist, who achieved this feat in 1828 by combining cyanic acid and ammonium in vitro. This groundbreaking achievement
demonstrated that organic compounds, the molecules of living nature, could be constructed in the laboratory without the aid of living creatures or their organs.

It is important to note that while urea is widely recognized as the first organic compound to be synthesized from inorganic chemicals, there were earlier instances of compounds that we now classify as organic being synthesized. For example, ethylene was first discovered in 1669, and it was successfully chlorinated to give 1,2-dichloroethane in 1794.

In summary, the synthesis of urea from inorganic chemicals is considered a pivotal event in the history of organic chemistry, marking the first successful artificial synthesis of an organic compound in a laboratory setting.


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