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Otto Redlich

Otto Redlich

American chemical engineer
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro American chemical engineer
Countries Austria
Occupations Engineer University teacher
Gender male
Birth 4 November 1896 (Vienna)
Death 14 August 1978 (California)
Star sign Scorpio
The details

Otto Redlich (November 4, 1896 – August 14, 1978) was an Austrian physical chemist and chemical engineer who is best known for his development of equations of state like Redlich-Kwong equation. Besides this he had numerous other contributions to science. He won the Haitinger Prize of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in 1932.


Redlich was born 1896 in Vienna, Austria. He went to school in the Döbling district of Vienna. After finishing school in 1915 he joined the Austrian Hungarian Army and served as artillery officer mainly at the Italian front in World War I. He was wounded and became a prisoner of war in August 1918. He returned to Vienna after the war in 1919. He studied chemistry and received his doctorate in 1922 for work on the equilibrium of nitric acid, nitrous and nitric oxide. Redlich worked for one year in industry and than joined Emil Abel at the University of Vienna. He became lecturer in 1929 and professor in 1937. During this time he developed the Teller-Redlich isotopic product rule. After the Anschluss in March 1938, Austria had become a part of Nazi Germany and with the implementation of the Nuremberg Laws all government employed Jews lost their jobs, including academics. Like many other scientist Redlich tried to leave the Nazi governed Austria.

With the help of the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars he was able to emigrate to the United States in December 1938. He gave lectures at several universities and met Gilbert N. Lewis and Linus Pauling. Harold Urey helped him to get a position in Washington State College. In 1945 he left the College and started to work in industry, at Shell Development Co. in Emeryville, California. He published his paper on the improvement of the ideal gas equation in 1949, today known as the Redlich–Kwong equation of state.

In 1962 Redlich retired from Shell and received a position at University of California at Berkeley. He died in California in 1978.

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