August Breithaupt was born 1791 in Probstzella in Saalfeld / Saale. From 1809 to 1811 he studied at the University of Jena; then he went to the Mining Academy Freiberg, to continue his studies at Abraham Gottlob Werner. In Freiberg he joined in 1811 the country team Montania, later Corps Montania on.
In 1813 he became a teacher of mineralogy at the Freiberg School and head of the collections of the academy. After Werner's death (1817 ) Breithaupt took over his mineralogy lectures, to Friedrich Mohs replaced him in 1818.
As Mohs left in 1826 Freiberg, August Breithaupt was appointed professor of mineralogy, which he held until 1866.
In addition to his scientific work, Breithaupt promoted the mining of hard coal in Zwickau room. Together with the Bergrat Carl Amandus Bold and the bankers and Carl Gustav Harkort he founded in 1840 the Erzgebirge coal - share club.
In 1849, published August Breithaupt his work " The Paragenesis of minerals ". In his studies on the properties and occurrence of minerals he had discovered that certain minerals occur repeatedly together. The reasons for the parageneses doctrine which is of great significance for the geology and mining, is considered his most significant achievement as a scientist.
He discovered and described more than 40 new minerals. For the determination of crystal systems, he led designations as a tetragonal, hexagonal and orthorhombic. He performed about 4,500 density determinations.
August Breithaupt was a member of numerous scientific societies, many honors were bestowed upon. In 1853 he was appointed Bergrat and 1863 Oberbergrat. Wilhelm Ritter von Haidinger in 1859 named the mineral antimony nickel ( NiSb ) Breithauptit. In 1863 he was elected a member of the Scholars Academy Leopoldina. In 1872 Breithaupt honorary citizen of the city of Zwickau.
In his last years, he suffered from a serious eye condition that made him eventually go blind. An eye surgery in the summer of 1873 was unsuccessful. He died on September 22, 1873 in Freiberg, where a street bears his name in his honor.
Breithaupt was the father of Hermann Theodor Breithaupt and the uncle of Clemens Winkler.
- About the authenticity of the crystals (1815 )
- Brief description of the Mineral Systems (1820 )
- Full characteristics of the mineral system ( 1823)
- The mountain town of the Kingdom of Saxony (1826 )
- Complete Handbook of Mineralogy ( 3 vols, 1836-47 )
- The Paragenesis of Minerals ( 1849)