Wissenschaftsforum: P. Atkins on Visualizing Chemistry

Author: Vera Köster

Peter William Atkins
is a profilic writer of many popular chemistry textbooks, including Physical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, and Molecular Quantum Mechanics. He is also author of science books for the general public such as Atkins’ Molecules and Galileo’s Finger: The Ten Great Ideas of Science.

Atkins was a professor of physical chemistry at the University of Oxford, UK, and a Fellow of Lincoln College. Since his retirement in 2007, he has been a full-time author.

Here, he talks about the importance of visualization and illustrations in chemistry.

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  1. Roy Alexander

    Alexandre-Emile Béguyer de Chancourtois visualized element data as arranged in a continuum later referred to as Mendeleev’s line – N+1, with the groups defined by vertical proximity in the 2-period long circumference of his ‘Screw’. Convenience became convention after Mendeleev, and the overwhelming number of future tables are flat. George Gamow (modern Big Bang; physicist; predictor of black body radiation of the universe), in his 1961 ‘the Atom and its Nucleus’, integrated the elements discovered since that first of the truly ‘periodic’ tables into a form which he used as an illustration. (http://www.allperiodictables.com/ClientPages/AAEpages/DTOutBackInvent.html) It is almost precisely the same as a ’65 design by myself, patented in ’71, and produced for classroom use in ’95 as the Alexander Arrangement of Elements. The Gamow illustration is clearly intended for a patent application, which was apparently not awarded to him. Does anyone know about the reason for this?


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