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Kasimir Fajans Edit Profile

chemist , educator

Kasimir Fajans was a Polish chemist and educator.


Fajans, Kasimir was born on May 27, 1887 in Warsaw, Poland. Son of Herman and Wanda (Wolberg) Fajans.


Born in Warsaw, he received his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Leipzig.


He took up postgraduate positions at the University of Heidelberg (1909) and later at the universities of Zurich, Switzerland, and Manchester, England, where he worked with Ernest Rutherford.

From 1911 to 1917 he was at the Technische Hochschule in Karlsruhe, Germany, for two years as assistant and then as a lecturer in physical chemistry. In 1917 he took up a position at the University of Munich, where he stayed until 1935 and was professor of physical chemistry from 1923. From 1932 1935 he was also director of the Institute for Physical Chemistry in Munich, with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation.

With the rise of Nazi power in Germany, Fajans emigrated to the United States and in 1936 joined the faculty of the University of Michigan as professor of chemistry, a position from which he retired in 1957.


  • Fajans’s work, while he was still in Germany, involved the study of the chemical forces and optical properties of natural substances, radioactive elements, transformations, and isotopes. Together with Otto Gohring, he discovered brevium (since 1918, called protactinium, element 91; also called uranium X2).

    Fajans was an active educator and author. He established the laws of radioactive displacement and adsorption indicators, and was the initiator of the concept of heat of hydration of gaseous ions; he also developed the quanticle theory of electronic molecular structure and chemical binding.


Fajans was a member of many scientific societies and was fellow of the American Physical Society and chairman of the American Chemistry Society (1947).


Married Salomea Kaplan, 1910. Children: Edgar, W. Stefan S. Assistant.

Herman Fajans

Wanda (Wolberg) Fajans

Salomea Kaplan

Edgar Fajans

W. Stefan S. Asst Fajans