Thomas Graham (12/21/1805 – 9/11/1869) was a Scottish physicist who studied many types of different colloidal systems. From 1826 he studied the diffusion of gases and invented Graham’s famous law of effusion. Later he researched the structures of phosphates and arsenates. The chemical compound “sodium polyphosphate” is still referred to today as “Graham’s salt”. During his extensive studies of dialysis, Thomas Graham discovered that some substances diffuse very rapidly through membrane filters and form crystals when dried (crystals). Other chemical compounds, on the other hand, diffused very slowly and did not form crystals in the dry state (colloids). Accordingly, Graham described colloids as substances that could not pass through semipermeable membranes. The name colloid was derived from the Greek word “kolla=kolla”, which means glue-like compounds. Graham also defined the terms “sol” and “gel”. In 1837 Thomas Graham left the Royal College of Science and Technology in Glasgow and became Professor of Chemistry at University College London. In 1841 he was appointed the first President of the “Chemical Society” in London.
The Kolloid-Gesellschaft can award the Graham Prize for outstanding contributions to colloid science nationally and internationally and to international collaboration in the field of colloid science and its neighboring disciplines. The award consists of a certificate and a commemorative coin.
Award winners since 1926
- 1926 Wolfgang Ostwald, Leipzig
- 1969 Hans Erbring, Bensberg
- 1975 Hans Wolfgang Kohlschütter, Darmstadt
- 1985 Egon Matijević, Potsdam, N. Y. (USA)
- 1995 Hans Lyklema, Wageningen (NL)
- 1997 Armin Weiß, München
- 2001 Milan Schwuger, Jülich
- 2013 Thomas Zemb, Montepellier (FR)
- 2019 Michal Borkovec, Genf (CH)