The foundation of liquid crystal science is traditionally set in the year 1888, with the work of Friedrich Reinitzer. Reinitzer is commonly termed a botanist, although in modern terms he would perhaps be thought of more as a biochemist. He was at the time 30 years old and assistant to Professor Weiss at the Institute of Plant Physiology at the German University of Prague. We remind readers that Prague was then the capital of the province of Bohemia in the Austro-Hungarian empire, but that the university in Prague was highly prestigious within the Germanspeaking world. Reinitzer’s experiments involved extracting cholesterol from carrots in order to determine its chemical formula, which at that time was unknown. He thought that cholesterol was chemically related to carotene (the red pigment) and thus to chorophyll. At the same time, cholesterol had been observed to occur in the cells of many animals, and it was of some interest to determine whether this was exactly the same cholesterol, or whether there were a number of closely related compounds. He presented his results to the Vienna Chemistry Society at its monthly meeting on 3 March 1888. This paper is article A1 in our collection.