S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science




Rindl, Professor Max Morris (chemistry)

Born: 1883, King William's Town, South Africa.
Died: 5 February 1947, Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Max M. Rindl received his schooling at Dale College, King William's Town. After matriculating through the University of the Cape of Good Hope in 1899 he went to Germany to continue his studies in Berlin. He completed his studies in chemistry, chemical engineering and metallurgy at the K?nigliche Technische Hochschule in Charlottenburg, Berlin, being awarded a diploma and a silver medal. In 1909 the same institution awarded him the degree Doctor of Engineering (Ing D). His thesis was titled Studien ?ber Trinitrochlornaphtaline.

On returning to South Africa Rindl was appointed in July 1909 as professor of chemistry and geology at Grey University College, Bloemfontein (later the University College of the Orange Free State, now the University of the Free State). In 1912 he was relieved of teaching geology and, as additional staff became available over the years, concentrated more on organic chemistry. He was head of the Department of Chemistry to about 1933, and then head of the Department of Organic Chemistry until his retirement at the end of 1941 because of failing health. In 1934 he was elected dean of the Faculty of Science of the University of South Africa. With Professor J.L.B. Smith of Rhodes University College he wrote a textbook on Numerical and constitutional exercises in organic chemistry (London, 1941).

Rindl's research, which was carried out mostly in his spare time and with limited funds and equipment, dealt mainly with the chemistry of poisonous and medicinal plants and with the chemistry of mineral springs. On the former subject he published some ten papers between 1917 and 1933. Most of these appeared in the Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa and dealt with the occurrence of Daphnin in Lasiosiphon polycephalus (1917), a poisonous alkaloid from the Transvaal Yellow Tulip (1922), the toxic Syringa berries (with D.G. Steyn, 1929), alkaloids from the bark of Strychnos henningsii (1932; and with M.L. Sapiro, 1936), the chemistry of Rauwolfia Natalensis (1932, with P.W.G. Groenewoud), and the isolation of a glucoside from Gnidia polycephala (1934). Related papers appeared in the South African Journal of Science and dealt with the chemistry of the roots of Arctopus echinatus (1932, with T. Meyer) and with topics already listed above.

Rindl's work on the medicinal springs of South Africa combined geology and chemistry, and was published mainly in the Report of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science and its successor, the South African Journal of Science, between 1916 and 1936. His two most important papers were "The medicinal springs of South Africa", with six supplements (1917-1936), and "International standard measurements in hydrology and a provisional register of medicinal waters in South Africa on these standards" (1930, 1931). His earliest locally published paper was on "A reversible photochemical reaction" (Report, 1914). Others dealt with "Alcohol motor fuels consisting of acetyline dissolved in alcohol or in acetone-alcohol" (South African Journal of Science, 1926) and "A demonstration of electrical high-vacuum distillation and melting-point apparatus" (Ibid, 1936). He also wrote a number of pamphlets in the Industries Bulletin Series, dealing with "Inorganic chemical industries" (No. 25), "The manufacture of soap and candles" (No. 27), "Nitric acid and other inorganic chemicals" (No. 36), "Sulphuric acid industry" (No. 31), and "Some sources of non-drying oils" (No. 76). Articles by him on these and other industrial topics appeared also in the South African Journal of Industries.

Rindl had a friendly disposition and a ready wit. He was an able teacher and a most entertaining public lecturer. As a member of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science from 1909 he served on its council for a number of years, as president of Section B (which included chemistry) at the association's annual congress in 1917, and as president of the association in 1935. His presidential address was "A plea for the establishment of a national research council and for the initiation of a national research policy in South Africa" (South African Journal of Science, 1935). At some time he was one of the two South African representatives in the International Society of Medical Hydrology. By 1917 he was a member of the Royal Society of South Africa and was elected one of its Fellows in 1933. He became a member of the South African Association of Analytical Chemists (from 1921 the South African Chemical Institute) in 1918, served on its council for some years, and was its president for 1929-1930. He was married to Helena H.H. van der Spuy.


List of sources:
Dr Ing Max Rindl. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa, 1948, Vol. 31, pp. xliii-xlvi.

Hall, A.L. A bibliography of South African geology.... Pretoria: Geological Survey, Memoirs No.18 (1922), 25 (1927), 27 (1931), and 30 (1937).

Journal of the South African Chemical Institute, May 1933: Past Presidents.

Loock, J.C. University of the Orange Free State. In C.R. Anhaeusser (ed.), A century of geological endeavour in southern Africa, 1895-1995 (pp. 205-216). Johannesburg: Geological Society of South Africa, 1997.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). . Documents relating to Rindl, Max Morris / Rindl, M.

National Union Catalogue, pre-1956 imprints. London: Mansell, 1968-1980.

Orange River Colony civil service list, 1910.

Royal Society of South Africa. Transactions, 1917, Vol. 6, lists of Fellows and members; 1917-1936, Vol. 6, 11, 20, 21 and 23: Papers by Rindl.

South African Association for the Advancement of Science. Report, 1910, 1918: Lists of members, office bearers; 1914, 1916, 1917, 1918: Papers by Rindl.

South African bibliography to the year 1925. London: Mansell, 1979.

South African Chemical Institute. Proceedings and list of members, 1921-1922.

South African Journal of Science, 1932, Vol. 29: Officers and council; 1937, Vol. 34, p. xiii: Presidents of the Association; 1926-1936, Vol. 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 and 33: Papers by Rindl.

Standard encyclopaedia of southern Africa (SESA). Cape Town: NASOU, 1970-1976.

University of the Cape of Good Hope. Calendar, 1903/4.


Compiled by: C. Plug


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