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Friedrich Mohs, 1832
Friedrich Mohs (January 29, 1773 – September 29, 1839) was a Germanmarker geologist/mineralogist.

Career

Mohs, born in Gernrodemarker, Germany, studied chemistry, mathematics and physics at the University of Hallemarker and also studied at the Mining Academy in Freiberg, Saxonymarker. After assuming the position of a foreman at a mine in 1801, Mohs moved in 1802 to Austriamarker, where he was employed in trying to identify the minerals in a private collection of a Banker.

Mineral properties

As part of this task, he started classifying minerals by their physical characteristics, in spite of their chemical composition, as had been done traditionally. This emphasis on physical characteristics was at odds with the prevailing chemical systematics. However, both Theophrastus and Pliny the Elder had compared the relative hardness of minerals known to them in the ancient world, including diamond and quartz. They knew that diamond could scratch quartz, so showing it to be harder. This became the basis of the famous hardness scale developed by Mohs. Minerals are now classified by chemical characteristics, but the physical properties are still useful in field examination.

Later career

In 1812, Mohs became professor in Grazmarker; in 1818, professor in Freiberg, Saxonymarker; in 1826, professor in Viennamarker. Mohs died during a trip to Italymarker, in Agordomarker near Bellunomarker, aged 66.


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