Alfred Werner: Overlooked Genius of the Periodic System

Авторы: Курушкин М.В.


2019, which was proclaimed by the United Nations as the International Year of the Periodic Table, sees one hundred years since Alfred Werner, the first Swiss to receive a Nobel Prize in chemistry, passed away. The undoubted father of coordination chemistry, he is also well‐known for influencing many other fields of chemistry, including organic, inorganic, organometallic, bioinorganic, and stereochemistry. However, one of his more rare and unique contributions to chemistry, his 1905 version of the periodic system, to this day remains overlooked. The simple and elegant idea which he used to construct his periodic table has not been communicated to the English‐speaking world, because Alfred Werner published his only original paper on the periodic table in German. Werner's simple mathematical approach lead to overwhelming success with anticipating the future f‐block. He managed to predict almost perfectly the number of lanthanides, which was hotly debated at that time. Werner's genius vision was considerably ahead of its time. It was not until the 1940s and the discovery of actinide series when the idea of representing the elements as a 32‐column periodic table finally became justified.

DOI: 10.1002/chem.201904321

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