Nikolay Zinin
Nikolay Nikolaevich Zinin (25 August 1812, Shusha
Shusha , also known as Shushi is a town in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh in the South Caucasus. It has been under the control of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic since its capture in 1992 during the Nagorno-Karabakh War...

 – 18 February 1880, Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

) was a Russian organic chemist
Organic chemistry
Organic chemistry is a subdiscipline within chemistry involving the scientific study of the structure, properties, composition, reactions, and preparation of carbon-based compounds, hydrocarbons, and their derivatives...



He studied at the University of Kazan where he graduated in mathematics but he started teaching chemistry in 1835. To improve his skills he was asked to study in Europe for some time, which he did between 1838 and 1841. He studied with Justus Liebig in Giessen, where he finished his research on the benzoin condensation
Benzoin condensation
The benzoin condensation is a reaction between two aromatic aldehydes, particularly benzaldehyde. The reaction is catalyzed by a nucleophile such as the cyanide anion or an N-heterocyclic carbene. The reaction product is an aromatic acyloin with benzoin as the parent compound...

, which was discovered by Liebig several years before. He presented his research results at the University of Saint Petersburg where he received his Ph.D. He became Professor for Chemistry in the same year at the University of Kazan and left for the University of Saint Petersburg in 1847 where also became member of St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences and first president of Russian Physical and Chemical Society (1868–1877).

In St. Petersburg, professor Zinin was a private teacher of chemistry to the young Alfred Nobel
Alfred Nobel
Alfred Bernhard Nobel was a Swedish chemist, engineer, innovator, and armaments manufacturer. He is the inventor of dynamite. Nobel also owned Bofors, which he had redirected from its previous role as primarily an iron and steel producer to a major manufacturer of cannon and other armaments...



He is known for so-called Zinin reaction
Zinin reaction
Zinin reaction or Zinin reduction, was discovered by a Russian organic chemist Nikolay Zinin . This reaction involves conversion of nitro aromates like nitrobenzene to amines by reduction with sodium sulfides....

 or Zinin reduction, in which nitro
-Chemistry:*Nitroglycerin, an explosive chemical compound*Nitromethane, the simplest organic nitro compound; also used to fuel high-performance internal-combustion engines*Nitrous oxide, "laughing gas", used in some dental procedures as an anaesthetic...

 aromates like nitrobenzene
Nitrobenzene is an organic compound with the chemical formula C6H5NO2. It is a water-insoluble pale yellow oil with an almond-like odor. It freezes to give greenish-yellow crystals. It is produced on a large scale as a precursor to aniline. Although occasionally used as a flavoring or perfume...

 are converted to amine
Amines are organic compounds and functional groups that contain a basic nitrogen atom with a lone pair. Amines are derivatives of ammonia, wherein one or more hydrogen atoms have been replaced by a substituent such as an alkyl or aryl group. Important amines include amino acids, biogenic amines,...

s by reduction with sodium sulfide
A sulfide is an anion of sulfur in its lowest oxidation state of 2-. Sulfide is also a slightly archaic term for thioethers, a common type of organosulfur compound that are well known for their bad odors.- Properties :...

In 1842 Zinin played an important role in identifying aniline
Aniline, phenylamine or aminobenzene is an organic compound with the formula C6H5NH2. Consisting of a phenyl group attached to an amino group, aniline is the prototypical aromatic amine. Being a precursor to many industrial chemicals, its main use is in the manufacture of precursors to polyurethane...


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