Great sense of particles

A young chemist nowadays knows that the profession requires feeling for molecules rather than a great body of knowledge about molecules. But when Jacobus van Hove dedicated his inaugural lecture on the importance of imagination in science in a chamber of great scholars in 1878, it must have been like cursing in church. The prevailing thought was that conclusions based on established and indisputable facts could be called scientific. Thus the existence of atoms was still under discussion at the time.

So it must have taken van Hoof a good dose of imagination to be the first to realize that molecules have spatial orientation – and that they are important for chemical properties. And a bit of genius, to see that particles can have an inverse image. He later received his first Nobel Prize in Chemistry. his new biography, emotional strangertells in detail what gave him ideas still relevant to alchemy.

In addition, a private life—sometimes tragic—is important in order to properly understand Van ‘t Hoff’s career, says author Rob van den Berg. For example, we read at length with the close correspondence between Van’t Hoff and his parents, to whom he wrote as a teenager that he would have been reduced to a “dry scholarly conglomerate” had he not been fascinated by the “almost exclusively subjective” hair of his idol Lord Byron. With a little imagination you can read Van ‘t Hoff’s science fiction origins.

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Sometimes writing style can emotional stranger They look rather outdated, to the point that 19th century quotations hardly seem out of place with modern text. The biography consists of 450 pages plus about 200 footnotes and source references. The latter betrays the exceptionally extensive research that must have preceded the book. so it is emotional stranger impressive biography.

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