Together with his friend Charles Friedel he discovered in 1877, named after two Friedel -Crafts Alkylation and Friedel -Crafts acylation.
The son of a textile manufacturer, studied at Harvard University in Cambridge (Massachusetts ) Natural Sciences. After earning a Bachelor of Science ( 1858) led him further studies in 1859 at the Mining Academy Freiberg, 1860 at the University of Heidelberg, where he was assistant to Bunsen, in 1861, the École de Médecine in Paris, where he worked under Wurtz and Friedel met. After working 1865/66 as a mine inspector in Mexico and the United States, he was in 1867 Professor of Chemistry at Cornell University in Ithaca. In 1870 he accepted an appointment as professor of analytical chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 1874 he returned for health reasons to Paris and worked again under Wurtz with Friedel together. 1877 described the catalytic effect of aluminum chloride in reactions of aromatic compounds with alkyl halides ( Friedel-Crafts reaction). In 1891 he returned to MIT, which he became president in 1895. In 1900 he became Professor Emeritus.
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