Gilbert Newton Lewis – discoverer of covalent bond

Gilbert Newton Lewis – discoverer of covalent bond

Gilbert Newton Lewis

Biography & Contributions

Gilbert Newton Lewis was an American physical chemist born on October 23, 1875 – died on March 23, 1946. Lewis important chemistry works include discovering covalent bond and concept of electron pairs. Lewis other works like proposing dot structures, valence bond theory and these works helped in the shaping of modern theories of chemical bonding.

Lewis also contributed his works in different sectors of chemistry like thermodynamics, photochemistry, isotope separation, and is also known for his concept of acids and bases. Lewis got Willard Gibbs Award in the year of 1924, Davy Medal in the year of 1929.

In 1916, he also proposed his theory of bonding and added information about electrons in the periodic table of the elements. Lewis worked with hydrogen and managed to purify a sample of heavy water. In 1926, Lewis coined the term "photon" for the smallest unit of radiant energy.

About in the year 1902, Lewis started to use unpublished drawings of cubical atoms in his lecture notes, in which the corners of the cube represented possible electron positions.

In 1908 he published the first of several papers on relativity, in which he derived the mass-energy relationship in a different way from Albert Einstein's derivation.

In 1916 another paper which he published is on chemical bonding. This covalent bond consisting of a shared pair of electrons, and he defined the term odd molecule when an electron is not shared.

In 1923, he formulated the electron-pair theory of acid-base reactions. In this electron-pair theory of acids and bases, a "Lewis acid" is considered as electron-pair acceptor and a "Lewis base" is considered as an electron-pair donor. Lewis spent 25 years determining free energies of various substances.

Lewis was the first to produce a pure sample of deuterium oxide (heavy water) in 1933 and the first to study survival and growth of life forms in heavy water. By accelerating deuterons in Ernest O. Lawrence's cyclotron, he was able to study many of the properties of atomic nuclei.

In 1919, by studying the magnetic properties of solutions of oxygen in liquid nitrogen, he found that O4 molecules were formed. This was the first evidence for tetratomic oxygen.

In 1921, Lewis was the first to propose an empirical equation describing the failure of strong electrolytes to obey the law of mass action, a problem that had perplexed physical chemists for twenty years. His empirical equations for what he called ionic strength were later confirmed to be in accord with the Debye-Huckel equation for strong electrolytes.

In 1926, he coined the term "photon" for the smallest unit of radiant energy (light).

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