Faculty of Materials Science and Applied Chemistry was founded in 1862. It functionated as a part of Riga Polytechnic School (1863-1896), Riga polytechnical Institute ( 1896-1919 and 1958-1990), latvian University ( 1919-1944), Latvian State University ( 1944-1958), Riga Technical University ( since 1990 ).
The first professor of chemistry in the Faculty was physicist A.Tepler ( 1864-1868), from 1878 as professor of chemical technology worked M.Glazenap. The first in the constellation of the most prominent Riga chemists was Nobel prize winner Wilhelm Ostvald. Although he had worked in Riga Polytechnic School for a comparatively short time, namely, he was a founder of scientific traditions of chemistry in Riga. It was here he discovered the main regularities of homogeneous acid-base catalysis, the rule of acid valence determination, here he invented viscosimeter and dropping mercury electrode.
In the period of professorship of Karl Adam Bishof (1887-1908 ) Riga became one of the stereochemistry research centers. K.A.Bishof propunded the hypothesis of steric hindrance ( 1889 ), introduced the rotational isomerism cenception ( 1891 ) . Even more important contribution to the development of stereochemistry and solution theory was made by scientific activities of Paul Valden in Riga ( 1887-1919 ) . P.Walde discovered the phenomenon of optical inversion of organic compuds ( 1896, Walden’s inversion ) . Due t0 this discovery Walden’s name is mentioned almost in all textbooks on organic chemistry published throughout the world. P.Walden in Riga has revealed autoracemization and put the foundations to electrochemistry of nonaqueous solutions.
M.Tszentnerschwer together with M.Strautmanis set up the Riga corrosionist school. In 1935 M.Strautmanis and A. Ieviņš developed a new X-Ray diffraction method for determination of crystal lattice parameters ( asymmetric method ).
In the period of Latvian University ( 1919-1944) M Tszentnerschwer and J.Krustinsons studied the thermal dissociotion of salts, A. Petrikalns investigated the photochemistry and luminiscence phenomena, A. Janeks and B. Jirgensons worked in the field of biocolloids, V. Fisher found out the crystallization regularities from supersaturated solutions. V. Fisher was the first who started the researches in the field of 1,3-indandione chemistry- the field extensively developed further by G.Vanags. E. Iegrīve discovered some important organic reagents for detection of inorganic ions.
Among the investigations performed in the post-war period A. Keshan’s works on the borate synthesis, investigations of L. Liepina concerning the kinetics of interaction of metals with water, studies supervised by J. Eiduks on glass, glassy coatings and glazes and G. Vanags and his successors investigations in the chemistry of cyclic β-diketones should be mentioned. G .Vanags set up the wide school of organic chemists in Riga.