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Alfred Werner: Founder of Coordination Chemistry by George B. Kauffman

By George B. Kauffman

A new release in the past, near1y all students who p1anned to turn into chemists have been required to take a direction within the heritage in their topic, yet these days, such classes usually are not required, and in lots of schoo1s, are usually not even provided. it really is argued that the topic of chemistry is increasing so rapid1y that scholars can hard1y grasp the cloth which fills the hot textual content books, to claim not anything of 1earning what chemists idea and did a century in the past. even supposing this standpoint has a few validity, it fails take into consideration the even more vital incontrovertible fact that one can't relatively comprehend or have fun with the current place of technology un1ess he is familiar with anything of the gradual and tortuous steps wherein it deve10ped. His skill to he1p it flow ahead should be enormously better via an figuring out of the taking into consideration the chemists who equipped the theories which we use at the present time. it's been tru1y stated, "He who is familiar with on1y his personal iteration continues to be a1ways a chi1d. " the looks of a e-book which info the beginning of a very good improvement in chemistry is accordingly an important occasion, and one that we welcome warmly. The occasions that are chronieled listed here are now some distance sufficient in the back of us to permit a elear assessment in their importance, yet elose sufficient that there nonetheless stay a couple of those that knew WERNER for my part, and who've preserved intimate files of his paintings. hence, Prof.

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But when he returned home rather late and somewhat unsteady after a sociable evening with friends at the Seeho/, tenants would often worry that he might start a fire by turning off the hall gaslights improperly. Unfortunately but perhaps inevitably, WERNER'S youthful involvement and pleasure in his home and family were to be displaced. by an increasing and intense absorption in his scientific work. As the years passed, the image that we get of WERNER, as described by colleagues, former students, and friends, is that of a man who lived almost exclusively for his science and who slept little; in the evening he was rarely at horne but was either at the institute or with his friends in intensely compressed hours of relaxation which involved, at one time or another, chess, billiards, bowling, and the Swiss national card game of Jass.

The earhon atom had not been ahle to maintain its monopoly on geometrie isomerism. Now the tetrahedron was likewise foreed to relinquish its claim to a monopoly on optical isomerism. 37 Although WERNER'S untimely death interrupted a number of unfinished projects, his life's work stands as a complete and highly significant chapter in the history of chemistry. Not only did he succeed in unequivocally proving by twenty-five years of experimental labor the dream theory of his youth, hut in the last-mentioned work, he confirmed his long-held view that no fundamental difference exists between organic and inorganic compounds.

In the early years of his teaching career, he was handicapped by factors often common to novice instructors - youth and inexperience. In addition to intellectual gifts, it took extreme tact, a character trait for which WERNER was never noted, to build and preserve good relations with both students and colleagues. At this time, he grew a mustache * This lecture is available in holograph form only, but its main conclusions have been published elsewhere, e. , on pp. 370-377 of WERNER'S "Lehrbuch der Stereochemie" (11) or on pp.

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