John Ferrara

Publication Date


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First Advisor

Lindbeck, Wendell

Degree Name

M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Physical Sciences




DISCOVERY: In about 1879 at John Hopkins University a graduate student named Fahlberg working under Ira Remsen noticed that the bread he ate after working in the laboratory one day had a sweet taste (1). Upon investigating it was found that the sweet taste was due to traces of a new substance made in the laboratory that remained on his hands. At the time Remsen was trying to produce orthophthalic acid from the sulfonation products of toluene (1). Success had been achieved with meta and para-sulfobenzioc acid in the productions of the corresponding phthalic acids, and now Remsen was trying to produce ortho-phthalic acid from ortho-sulfobenzoic acid. The reaction that produced the new substance was the last step in what Remsen thought would produce ortho-sulfaminobenzoic acid from ortho-toluenesulfonamide by oxidizing the methyl group to a carboxyl group. However, the substance formed was found to have a molecular weight of 183.18 instead of the 201.19 for the ortho-sulfaminobenzoic acid, and the substance was also found to have a second ring which was formed by a loss of water whose molecular weight is the same as the difference between the molecular weight of the new substance and ortho-sulfaminobenzoic acid. Remsen and Fahlberg called this new substance benzoic sulfinide (1), and today we know it as saccharin.


Includes bibliographical references.


17 pages




Northern Illinois University

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