Jons Jacob Berzelius – discoverer of thorium&cerium elements

Jons Jacob Berzelius – discoverer of thorium&cerium elements

Jons Jacob Berzelius

Biography & Contributions

Jons Jacob Berzelius was a Swedish chemist born on August 20, 1779 – died on August 07, 1848. Berzelius was best known for his determination of atomic weights, chemical notation, isolation and discovery of silicon, selenium, thorium and cerium periodic table elements. He is known as "the Father of Swedish Chemistry".

Berzelius experiments led to a more complete depiction of the principles of stoichiometry, or the field of chemical combining proportions. Berzelius also demonstrated the power of an electrochemical cell to decompose chemicals into pairs of electrically opposite constituents.

Berzelius's work with atomic weights and his theory of electrochemical dualism led to his development of a modern system of chemical formula notation that could portray the composition of any compound both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Berzelius discovered and isolated several new elements including silicon, selenium, thorium and cerium. Berzelius’s interest in mineralogy also fostered his analysis and preparation of new compounds of these and other elements. He developed classical analytical techniques, and investigated isomerism and catalysis. Berzelius is also credited with originating the chemical terms catalysis, polymer, isomer, and allotrope.

He was the first person to make the distinction between organic compounds, and inorganic compounds. Berzelius gave advice to Gerardus Johannes Mulder in his elemental analyses of organic compounds such as coffee, tea, and various proteins.

The most notable of Berzelius's contributions to chemistry was his development of a rational system of modern chemical symbols and development of classical analytical techniques. Berzelius revised and generalized the acid / base chemistry chiefly promoted by Lavoisier.

He also generalized about the electrochemical dualism of other substances including unusual inorganic compounds such as the chlorides of sulfur, double and higher salts, naturally occurring minerals, and organic compounds. According to Berzelius, all chemicals, whether natural or artificial, mineral or organic, could be distinguished and specified qualitatively by identifying their electrically opposing constituents: the acidic, or electronegative, and the basic, or electropositive.

Silicon Element Properties

Silicon is the eighth most common element in the universe by mass, but very rarely occurs as the pure free element in nature. It is most widely distributed in dusts, sands, planetoids, and planets as various forms of silicon dioxide (silica) or silicates. Silicon is the basis of the widely used synthetic polymers called silicones. Silicon is an essential element in biology, although only tiny traces of it appear to be required by animals.

Silicon is a solid at room temperature, with relatively high melting and boiling points of 1414 °C and 3265 °C. Silicon is a semiconductor. It has a negative temperature coefficient of resistance. Silicon is a metalloid, readily either donating or sharing its four outer electrons, allowing for many forms of chemical bonding.

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