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G.N. Lewis

G.N. Lewis (October 23, 1875-March 23, 1946) was a well known American Chemist that contributed to all areas of Chemistry. <ref>Atomic Magic. (1998) Gilbert N. Lewis. Retrieved January 29, 2009, from http://library.thinkquest.org/15567/bio/lewis.html.</ref>. His work contributed to the study of thermodynamics, atomic structure, and bonding.<ref>Atomic Magic. (1998) Gilbert N. Lewis. Retrieved January 29, 2009, from http://library.thinkquest.org/15567/bio/lewis.html.</ref>

Early Life

Gilbert Newton Lewis was born on October 23, 1875 in Weymouth, Massachusetts. At age nine he and his family moved to Lincoln, Nebraska where he attended to his only public schooling until the age of fourteen. When he was 14, he entered the University of Nebraska but transferred to Harvard College after three years. Lewis first started as a home schooled student, which then would eventually lead to his entrance into Harvard after three years of The University of Nebraska.


Lewis showed interest in economics but mostly concentrated on Chemistry at Harvard, his studies and interest were thermodynamics relationship to chemical equilibrium,isotopes, and electron-pair bonding of atoms and molecules. in 1899 at age 24 he was awarded his PhD under the supervision of T.W. Richards, who showed him how to take measurements and to go by Faradat's method "Fact is more important than theory" <ref> Jensen, William. (1992). Gilbert Newton Lewis. An American Chemist. Retrieved January 29, 2009, from http://www.woodrow.org/teachers/ci/1992/lewis.html.</ref>


He then left Harvard after many conflicts over bonding in atomic and molecular structures with Richards, and in 1912 after leaving a faculty at MIT he accepted the position of dean and chairman at the College of Chemistry at the University of Berkeley in California. After becoming a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he researched and discovered many things while making theories like the "Lewis Theory of Acids and Bases," which thought of the relationship of acids and bases. <ref> Helmenstine, todd. (2009). gilbert Newton Lewis. Retrieved January 27, 2009, from http://chemistry.about.com/od/famouschemists/p/lewisbio.htm.</ref> Lewis came up with first successful theory of chemical bonding and the idea of valence electrons. Lewis always thought that any chemistry department should not just teach, but also advance it, and so he spent most of his life at Berkeley's Chemistry Department into a world class center for teaching and research using his own vision. <ref> American Chemical Association. (2007) Gilman Hall. Retrieved January 28, 2009, from http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_ARTICLEMAIN&node_id=930&content_id=CTP_004474&use_sec=true&sec_url_var=region1. </ref>Lewis had always focused more on students who were above average and preferred to work with them instead. Most of his students learned and even sometimes taught under his teachings, but his upper divisions of honor students were the ones that had been required to do research. He didn't always teach, he also researched for himself and also made his students do the same. He researched and worked on all fields of chemistry like the relationship between thermodynamics and equilibrium, the electron pair bonding theory of atoms and molecules, isotopes and many more. Lewis' way of thinking was way too advanced for his time, and modern chemistry has been deeply influence by his theories.

Lewis Dot Structure

main article: Lewis_Dot_Structures

Once, while teaching his students about valence electrons, he described atoms as constructed by a series of cubes with electrons at each corner, which explained the eight groups of the periodic table and represented his theory of electrons being transferred to give each atom eight, which is the octet rule. <ref> Chemical Heritage Foundation. (2005). Gilbert Newton Lewis and Irving Langmuir. Retrieved January 29, 2009, http://www.chemheritage.org/classroom/chemach/chemsynthesis/lewis-langmuir.html. </ref> "His recognition of the importance of the electron pair bond led to a revision of the theory of valence. He also made special studies in thermodynamics, formulated the Lewis Theory of acids and bases, and with Harold C. Urey, a graduate of his, discovered heavy water." <ref> Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. (2007). Lewis, Gilbert Newton. Retrieved January 29, 2009, from http://www.factmonster.com/ce6/people/A0829604.html.</ref> The first really successful theory of chemical bonding came from Lewis' lab notes from 1902, which would eventually lead to his classic article, "The Atom and the Molecule" in 1916. The idea of chemical bonding would be very important to many other chemist who were doing there researching in this area. One of the reasons that Lewis is remembered is because of his research in chemical bonding. <ref> Lower, Stephen. (2002). Lewis Dot Structures and Octet Rule. Retrieved January 28, 2009, from http://www.chem1.com/acad/webtext/chembond/cb03.html.</ref>


Lewis is remembered for a lot of his discoveries and his achievements, he was the first American physical chemist to produce a pure sample of deuterium oxide also known as heavy water which he did in 1993. <ref> Cleveland, Cutler J. (2008). Lewis, Gilbert Newton. Retrieved January 27, 2009,from http://www.eoearth.org/article/Lewis,_Gilbert_Newton.</ref>. Over his lifetime, Lewis received many honors for his research, and was nominated for the Nobel Prize over 30 times but he did not receive it once. Also when he was at MIThe studied electrode potentials. Many people and other chemists themselves believe that Lewis deserved the Nobel Prize for all of his research and his contribution to all fields of chemistry, and his research on the valence theory and others like thermodynamics would indicate that he had done enough work to deserve one. <ref> Kauffman, George B. (2008) Lewis, Gilbert Newton.Retrieved January 27, 2009, from http://www.chemistryexplained.com/Kr-Ma/Lewis-Gilbert-N.html.</ref>. Lewis made many discoveries and influenced modern chemistry with his theories on valence electrons and his work on thermodynamics. Although he didn't received a Nobel Prize, he is still remembered as one of the greatest American chemist to ever contribute ideas and research to chemistry.

His Death

He worked hard and was known for being open to criticism and open ideas, until his unexpected death on March 23, 1946 in his laboratory in Berkeley, California. <ref> "Gilbert N. Lewis." Encyclopedia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 04 Feb. 2009. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/338142/Gilbert-N-Lewis>.</ref>

Further Reading




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