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Ira Remsen, M.D., 1865

‌Co-discovered saccharin artificial sweetener; one of five founding faculty at Johns Hopkins University


Ira Remsen, M.D. 1865, Ph.D., graduated from the New York Medical College School of Medicine in 1865 and later received a Ph.D. from the University of Göttingen in Sweden. He became a research chemist at the University of Tübingen in Germany before returning to the U.S. and joining the faculty of Williams College in Virginia.

While on the faculty there, Dr. Remsen wrote the popular text, Theoretical Chemistry. He would go on to become one‌ of five founding faculty of Johns Hopkins University in Maryland where he also founded the university’s department of chemistry and its school of engineering. He later served as the university’s president, the second in its history. Working in his laboratory, Dr. Remsen co-discovered the artificial sweetener, saccharin.

He founded the American Chemical Journal which he edited for 35 years. His biography notes his influence on the study of chemistry, stating that “he opened up a life work in chemistry as a career to many, and developed a spirit of research that spread over the country.”