A splendid letter in which Liebig advises his friend on a career in science. Liebig (1803–1873) became, at the age of 21, and with Humboldt's recommendation, a professor at the University of Giessen. He established the world's first major school of chemistry there, and founded the journal Annalen der Chemie. His Organic Chemistry in Its Application to Agriculture and Physiology (1840) was of tremendous influence in Europe and America (Walt Whitman wrote an enthusiastic review in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in 1847).
His presumed correspondent Michel Peyrone, who discovered and synthesized Peyrone's chloride (Cisplatin), had just been appointed "professor of applied chemistry" and had been seeking Liebig's advice, freely given here: "It will be difficult for you in the beginning to adjust to the task of being a teacher, but these difficulties must be vanquished. Bear in mind that your knowledge and experience belong to all who wish to make productive use of them and that we must impart them to all without making them the object of commerce. It is not good to take on work for manufacturers and others for money, because the monetary gain is always much too small compared to the loss of your time. But when you do scientific work, you serve not just one person but all people, and this is infinitely more rewarding than such purchased labors. ... I have seen so many examples where science has lost very capable men because they made themselves into slaves of industry, that I didn't want to miss the opportunity of drawing your attention to the far greater purpose in serving science ... Look how bad the situation of chemists is in England and America; in those countries the chemist is not respected and is the servant of industry, because there chemistry is made into an object of profit."
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