Gilbert N. Lewis

Gilbert N. Lewis

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Gilbert Newton Lewis was an American physical chemist
Physical chemistry
Physical chemistry is the study of macroscopic, atomic, subatomic, and particulate phenomena in chemical systems in terms of physical laws and concepts...

 known for the discovery of the covalent bond
Covalent bond
A covalent bond is a form of chemical bonding that is characterized by the sharing of pairs of electrons between atoms. The stable balance of attractive and repulsive forces between atoms when they share electrons is known as covalent bonding....

 (see his Lewis dot structures and his 1916 paper "The Atom and the Molecule"), his purification of heavy water
Heavy water
Heavy water is water highly enriched in the hydrogen isotope deuterium; e.g., heavy water used in CANDU reactors is 99.75% enriched by hydrogen atom-fraction...

, his reformulation of chemical thermodynamics
Chemical thermodynamics
Chemical thermodynamics is the study of the interrelation of heat and work with chemical reactions or with physical changes of state within the confines of the laws of thermodynamics...

 in a mathematically rigorous manner accessible to ordinary chemists, his theory of Lewis acids and bases, and his photochemical experiments. In 1926, Lewis coined the term "photon
Photon
In physics, a photon is an elementary particle, the quantum of the electromagnetic interaction and the basic unit of light and all other forms of electromagnetic radiation. It is also the force carrier for the electromagnetic force...

" for the smallest unit of radiant energy. He was a brother in Alpha Chi Sigma
Alpha Chi Sigma
Alpha Chi Sigma is a professional fraternity specializing in the field of chemistry. It has both collegiate and professional chapters throughout the United States consisting of both men and women and numbering more than 63,400 members...

, the professional chemistry fraternity, and for most of his long professorial career, a professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...

.

Career


Lewis was born and raised in Weymouth, Massachusetts
Weymouth, Massachusetts
The Town of Weymouth is a city in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. As of the 2010 census, Weymouth had a total population of 53,743. Despite its city status, it is formally known as the Town of Weymouth...

, where there exists a street named for him, G.N. Lewis Way, off of Summer Street. Additionally, the wing of the new Weymouth High School Chemistry department has been named in his honor.
After earning his Ph.D. at Harvard
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 under the direction of Theodore Richards
Theodore William Richards
Theodore William Richards was the first American scientist to receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, earning the award "in recognition of his exact determinations of the atomic weights of a large number of the chemical elements."- Biography :Theodore Richards was born in Germantown, Philadelphia,...

, Lewis stayed as an instructor for a year before taking a traveling fellowship, studying under the physical chemists Wilhelm Ostwald
Wilhelm Ostwald
Friedrich Wilhelm Ostwald was a Baltic German chemist. He received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1909 for his work on catalysis, chemical equilibria and reaction velocities...

 at Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

 and physicist Walther Nernst
Walther Nernst
Walther Hermann Nernst FRS was a German physical chemist and physicist who is known for his theories behind the calculation of chemical affinity as embodied in the third law of thermodynamics, for which he won the 1920 Nobel Prize in chemistry...

 at Göttingen
Göttingen
Göttingen is a university town in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is the capital of the district of Göttingen. The Leine river runs through the town. In 2006 the population was 129,686.-General information:...

. While working in Nernst's lab, Nernst and Lewis apparently developed a lifelong enmity. A friend of Nernst's, Wilhelm Palmær,, was a member of the Nobel Chemistry Committee. There is evidence that he used the Nobel nominating and reporting procedures to block a Nobel Prize for Lewis in thermodynamics
Thermodynamics
Thermodynamics is a physical science that studies the effects on material bodies, and on radiation in regions of space, of transfer of heat and of work done on or by the bodies or radiation...

 by nominating Lewis for the prize three times, and then using his position as a committee member to write negative reports.

After his stay in Nernst's lab, Lewis returned to Harvard as an instructor for three more years, and in 1904 left to become Superintendent of Weights and Measures for the Bureau of Science of the Philippine Islands
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 in Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

. The next year he returned to Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, in the Greater Boston area. It was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders. Cambridge is home to two of the world's most prominent...

 when the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

 (MIT) appointed him to a faculty position, in which he had a chance to join a group of outstanding physical chemists under the direction of Arthur Amos Noyes
Arthur Amos Noyes
Arthur Amos Noyes was a U.S. chemist and educator. He served as the acting president of MIT between 1907 and 1909. He received a PhD. in 1890 at Leipzig under the guidance of Wilhelm Ostwald. Roscoe Gilkey Dickinson was one of his famous students. Noyes served as Professor of Chemistry at the...

. He became an assistant professor in 1907, associate professor on 1908, and full professor in 1911. He left MIT in 1912 to become a professor of physical chemistry and dean of the College of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...

. Lewis Hall at Berkeley, built in 1948, is named in his honor.

Timeline


About 1902 Lewis started to use unpublished drawings of cubical atom
Cubical atom
The cubical atom was an early atomic model in which electrons were positioned at the eight corners of a cube in a non-polar atom or molecule. This theory was developed in 1902 by Gilbert N. Lewis and published in 1916 in the famous article "The Atom and the Molecule" and used to account for the...

s in his lecture notes, in which the corners of the cube represented possible electron
Electron
The electron is a subatomic particle with a negative elementary electric charge. It has no known components or substructure; in other words, it is generally thought to be an elementary particle. An electron has a mass that is approximately 1/1836 that of the proton...

 positions. Lewis later cited these notes in his classic 1916 paper on chemical bonding, as being the first expression of his ideas.

In 1908 he published the first of several papers on relativity
Theory of relativity
The theory of relativity, or simply relativity, encompasses two theories of Albert Einstein: special relativity and general relativity. However, the word relativity is sometimes used in reference to Galilean invariance....

, in which he derived the mass
Mass
Mass can be defined as a quantitive measure of the resistance an object has to change in its velocity.In physics, mass commonly refers to any of the following three properties of matter, which have been shown experimentally to be equivalent:...

-energy
Energy
In physics, energy is an indirectly observed quantity. It is often understood as the ability a physical system has to do work on other physical systems...

 relationship in a different way from Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

's derivation.
In 1909, he and Richard Tolman combined his methods with special relativity
Principle of relativity
In physics, the principle of relativity is the requirement that the equations describing the laws of physics have the same form in all admissible frames of reference....

.
In 1912 Lewis and Edwin Bidwell Wilson
Edwin Bidwell Wilson
Edwin Bidwell Wilson was an American mathematician and polymath. He was the sole protégé of Yale's physicist Josiah Willard Gibbs and was mentor to MIT economist Paul Samuelson. He received his AB from Harvard College in 1899 and his PhD from Yale University in 1901, working under Gibbs.E.B...

 presented a major work in mathematical physics that not only applied synthetic geometry
Synthetic geometry
Synthetic or axiomatic geometry is the branch of geometry which makes use of axioms, theorems and logical arguments to draw conclusions, as opposed to analytic and algebraic geometries which use analysis and algebra to perform geometric computations and solve problems.-Logical synthesis:The process...

 to the study of spacetime
Spacetime
In physics, spacetime is any mathematical model that combines space and time into a single continuum. Spacetime is usually interpreted with space as being three-dimensional and time playing the role of a fourth dimension that is of a different sort from the spatial dimensions...

, but also noted the identity of a spacetime squeeze mapping
Squeeze mapping
In linear algebra, a squeeze mapping is a type of linear map that preserves Euclidean area of regions in the Cartesian plane, but is not a Euclidean motion.For a fixed positive real number r, the mapping →...

 and a Lorentz transformation
Lorentz transformation
In physics, the Lorentz transformation or Lorentz-Fitzgerald transformation describes how, according to the theory of special relativity, two observers' varying measurements of space and time can be converted into each other's frames of reference. It is named after the Dutch physicist Hendrik...

.
Lewis also introduced the thermodynamic concept of activity
Activity (chemistry)
In chemical thermodynamics, activity is a measure of the “effective concentration” of a species in a mixture, meaning that the species' chemical potential depends on the activity of a real solution in the same way that it would depend on concentration for an ideal solution.By convention, activity...

 and coined the term "fugacity
Fugacity
In chemical thermodynamics, the fugacity of a real gas is an effective pressure which replaces the true mechanical pressure in accurate chemical equilibrium calculations. It is equal to the pressure of an ideal gas which has the same chemical potential as the real gas. For example, nitrogen gas ...

".

On June 21, 1912, he married Mary Hinckley Sheldon, daughter of a Harvard professor of Romance languages
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

. They had two sons, both of whom became chemistry professors, and a daughter.

In 1913, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences
United States National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...

. He resigned in 1934, refusing to state the cause for his resignation; it has been speculated that it was due to a dispute over the internal politics of that institution or to the failure of those he had nominated to be elected. His decision to resign may have been sparked by resentment over the award of the 1934 Nobel Prize for chemistry to his student, Harold Urey
Harold Urey
Harold Clayton Urey was an American physical chemist whose pioneering work on isotopes earned him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1934...

, for the discovery of deuterium, a prize Lewis almost certainly felt he should have shared for his work on purification and characterization of heavy water.

In 1916, he published his classic paper on chemical bonding "The Atom and the Molecule" in which he formulated the idea of what would become known as the covalent bond
Covalent bond
A covalent bond is a form of chemical bonding that is characterized by the sharing of pairs of electrons between atoms. The stable balance of attractive and repulsive forces between atoms when they share electrons is known as covalent bonding....

, consisting of a shared pair of electron
Electron
The electron is a subatomic particle with a negative elementary electric charge. It has no known components or substructure; in other words, it is generally thought to be an elementary particle. An electron has a mass that is approximately 1/1836 that of the proton...

s, and he defined the term odd molecule
Odd molecule
Odd molecule is a term invented by Gilbert N. Lewis in 1916 for a molecule containing an odd number of electrons.Taking the p-shell elements, such molecules are rare; they are usually colored and paramagnetic, that is, attracted by a magnet....

 (the modern term is free radical) when an electron is not shared. He included what became known as Lewis dot structures as well as the cubical atom
Cubical atom
The cubical atom was an early atomic model in which electrons were positioned at the eight corners of a cube in a non-polar atom or molecule. This theory was developed in 1902 by Gilbert N. Lewis and published in 1916 in the famous article "The Atom and the Molecule" and used to account for the...

 model. These ideas on chemical bond
Chemical bond
A chemical bond is an attraction between atoms that allows the formation of chemical substances that contain two or more atoms. The bond is caused by the electromagnetic force attraction between opposite charges, either between electrons and nuclei, or as the result of a dipole attraction...

ing were expanded upon by Irving Langmuir
Irving Langmuir
Irving Langmuir was an American chemist and physicist. His most noted publication was the famous 1919 article "The Arrangement of Electrons in Atoms and Molecules" in which, building on Gilbert N. Lewis's cubical atom theory and Walther Kossel's chemical bonding theory, he outlined his...

 and became the inspiration for the studies on the nature of the chemical bond by Linus Pauling
Linus Pauling
Linus Carl Pauling was an American chemist, biochemist, peace activist, author, and educator. He was one of the most influential chemists in history and ranks among the most important scientists of the 20th century...

.

In 1919, by studying the magnetic
Magnetism
Magnetism is a property of materials that respond at an atomic or subatomic level to an applied magnetic field. Ferromagnetism is the strongest and most familiar type of magnetism. It is responsible for the behavior of permanent magnets, which produce their own persistent magnetic fields, as well...

 properties of solutions of oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

 in liquid
Liquid
Liquid is one of the three classical states of matter . Like a gas, a liquid is able to flow and take the shape of a container. Some liquids resist compression, while others can be compressed. Unlike a gas, a liquid does not disperse to fill every space of a container, and maintains a fairly...

 nitrogen
Nitrogen
Nitrogen is a chemical element that has the symbol N, atomic number of 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.08% by volume of Earth's atmosphere...

, he found that O4 molecules were formed. This was the first evidence for tetratomic oxygen
Tetraoxygen
The tetraoxygen molecule , also called oxozone, was first predicted in 1924 by Gilbert N. Lewis, who proposed it as an explanation for the failure of liquid oxygen to obey Curie's law...

.

In 1921, Lewis was the first to propose an empirical equation describing the failure of strong electrolyte
Strong electrolyte
A strong electrolyte is a solute that completely, or almost completely, ionizes or dissociates in a solution. These ions are good conductors of electric current in the solution....

s 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
Ionic strength
The ionic strength of a solution is a measure of the concentration of ions in that solution. Ionic compounds, when dissolved in water, dissociate into ions. The total electrolyte concentration in solution will affect important properties such as the dissociation or the solubility of different salts...

 were later confirmed to be in accord with the Debye-Hückel equation
Debye-Hückel equation
The Debye–Hückel equation and Debye–Hückel limiting law, were derived by Peter Debye and Erich Hückel, who developed a theory with which to calculate activity coefficients of electrolyte solutions. Activities, rather than concentrations, are needed in many chemical calculations because solutions...

 for strong electrolytes, published in 1923.

In 1923, he formulated the electron-pair theory of acid-base reactions. In the so-called Lewis theory of acid
Acid
An acid is a substance which reacts with a base. Commonly, acids can be identified as tasting sour, reacting with metals such as calcium, and bases like sodium carbonate. Aqueous acids have a pH of less than 7, where an acid of lower pH is typically stronger, and turn blue litmus paper red...

s and base
Base (chemistry)
For the term in genetics, see base A base in chemistry is a substance that can accept hydrogen ions or more generally, donate electron pairs. A soluble base is referred to as an alkali if it contains and releases hydroxide ions quantitatively...

s, a "Lewis acid
Lewis acid
]The term Lewis acid refers to a definition of acid published by Gilbert N. Lewis in 1923, specifically: An acid substance is one which can employ a lone pair from another molecule in completing the stable group of one of its own atoms. Thus, H+ is a Lewis acid, since it can accept a lone pair,...

" is an electron-pair acceptor and a "Lewis base" is an electron-pair donor. This year he also published a monograph on his theories of the chemical bond

Based on work by J. Willard Gibbs, it was known that chemical reactions proceeded to an equilibrium
Chemical equilibrium
In a chemical reaction, chemical equilibrium is the state in which the concentrations of the reactants and products have not yet changed with time. It occurs only in reversible reactions, and not in irreversible reactions. Usually, this state results when the forward reaction proceeds at the same...

 determined by the free energy
Thermodynamic free energy
The thermodynamic free energy is the amount of work that a thermodynamic system can perform. The concept is useful in the thermodynamics of chemical or thermal processes in engineering and science. The free energy is the internal energy of a system less the amount of energy that cannot be used to...

 of the substances taking part. Lewis spent 25 years determining free energies of various substances. In 1923 he and Merle Randall
Merle Randall
Merle Randall was an American physical chemist famous for his work, over the period of 25 years, in measuring free energy calculations of compounds with Gilbert N. Lewis...

 published the results of this study, which helped formalize modern chemical thermodynamics
Chemical thermodynamics
Chemical thermodynamics is the study of the interrelation of heat and work with chemical reactions or with physical changes of state within the confines of the laws of thermodynamics...

.

In 1926, he coined the term "photon
Photon
In physics, a photon is an elementary particle, the quantum of the electromagnetic interaction and the basic unit of light and all other forms of electromagnetic radiation. It is also the force carrier for the electromagnetic force...

" for the smallest unit of radiant energy (light). Actually, the outcome of his letter to Nature
Nature
Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

 was not what he had intended. In the letter, he proposed a photon
Photon
In physics, a photon is an elementary particle, the quantum of the electromagnetic interaction and the basic unit of light and all other forms of electromagnetic radiation. It is also the force carrier for the electromagnetic force...

 being a structural element, not energy
Energy
In physics, energy is an indirectly observed quantity. It is often understood as the ability a physical system has to do work on other physical systems...

. He insisted on the need for a new variable, the number of photons. Although his theory differed from the quantum theory of light
Photon
In physics, a photon is an elementary particle, the quantum of the electromagnetic interaction and the basic unit of light and all other forms of electromagnetic radiation. It is also the force carrier for the electromagnetic force...

 introduced by Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

 in 1905, his name was adopted for what Einstein had called a light quantum (Lichtquant in German).

Lewis was the first to produce a pure sample of deuterium oxide (heavy water
Heavy water
Heavy water is water highly enriched in the hydrogen isotope deuterium; e.g., heavy water used in CANDU reactors is 99.75% enriched by hydrogen atom-fraction...

) in 1933 and the first to study survival and growth of life forms in heavy water. By accelerating deuterons (deuterium nuclei
Atomic nucleus
The nucleus is the very dense region consisting of protons and neutrons at the center of an atom. It was discovered in 1911, as a result of Ernest Rutherford's interpretation of the famous 1909 Rutherford experiment performed by Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden, under the direction of Rutherford. The...

) in Ernest O. Lawrence's
Ernest Lawrence
Ernest Orlando Lawrence was an American physicist and Nobel Laureate, known for his invention, utilization, and improvement of the cyclotron atom-smasher beginning in 1929, based on his studies of the works of Rolf Widerøe, and his later work in uranium-isotope separation for the Manhattan Project...

 cyclotron
Cyclotron
In technology, a cyclotron is a type of particle accelerator. In physics, the cyclotron frequency or gyrofrequency is the frequency of a charged particle moving perpendicularly to the direction of a uniform magnetic field, i.e. a magnetic field of constant magnitude and direction...

, he was able to study many of the properties of atomic nuclei. During the 1930s, he was mentor to Glenn T. Seaborg
Glenn T. Seaborg
Glenn Theodore Seaborg was an American scientist who won the 1951 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for "discoveries in the chemistry of the transuranium elements", contributed to the discovery and isolation of ten elements, and developed the actinide concept, which led to the current arrangement of the...

, who was retained for post-doctoral work as Lewis' personal research assistant. Seaborg went on to win the 1951 Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

 in Chemistry and have the element Seaborgium
Seaborgium
Seaborgium is a synthetic chemical element with the symbol Sg and atomic number 106.Seaborgium is a synthetic element whose most stable isotope 271Sg has a half-life of 1.9 minutes. A new isotope 269Sg has a potentially slightly longer half-life based on the observation of a single decay...

 named in his honor while he was still alive.

Later years


Over the course of his career, Lewis published on many other subjects besides those mentioned in this entry, ranging from the nature of light
Light
Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation that is visible to the human eye, and is responsible for the sense of sight. Visible light has wavelength in a range from about 380 nanometres to about 740 nm, with a frequency range of about 405 THz to 790 THz...

 quanta to the economics
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

 of price stabilization.
In the last years of his life, Lewis and graduate student Michael Kasha
Michael Kasha
Michael Kasha is an American physical chemist and molecular spectroscopist who is one of the original founders of the Institute of Molecular Biophysics at Florida State University . Born in Elizabeth, NJ to a family of Ukrainian immigrants, he earned his Ph.D...

, his last research associate, established that phosphorescence
Phosphorescence
Phosphorescence is a specific type of photoluminescence related to fluorescence. Unlike fluorescence, a phosphorescent material does not immediately re-emit the radiation it absorbs. The slower time scales of the re-emission are associated with "forbidden" energy state transitions in quantum...

 of organic
Organic chemistry
Organic chemistry is a subdiscipline within chemistry involving the scientific study of the structure, properties, composition, reactions, and preparation of carbon-based compounds, hydrocarbons, and their derivatives...

 molecules involves emission of light from one electron in an excited triplet state
Triplet state
A spin triplet is a set of three quantum states of a system, each with total spin S = 1 . The system could consist of a single elementary massive spin 1 particle such as a W or Z boson, or be some multiparticle state with total spin angular momentum of one.In physics, spin is the angular momentum...

 (a state in which two electrons have their spin vector
Spin (physics)
In quantum mechanics and particle physics, spin is a fundamental characteristic property of elementary particles, composite particles , and atomic nuclei.It is worth noting that the intrinsic property of subatomic particles called spin and discussed in this article, is related in some small ways,...

s oriented in the same direction, but in different orbitals) and measured the magnetic nature of this triplet state, paramagnetism.

In 1946, a graduate student found Lewis's lifeless body under a laboratory workbench at Berkeley. Lewis had been working on an experiment with liquid hydrogen cyanide, and deadly fumes from a broken line had leaked into the laboratory. The coroner ruled that the cause of death was coronary artery disease, but some believe that it may have been a suicide. Berkeley Emeritus Professor William Jolly, who reported the various views on Lewis's death in his 1987 history of UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry, From Retorts to Lasers, wrote that a higher-up in the department believed that Lewis had committed suicide.

If Lewis's death was indeed a suicide, a possible explanation was depression brought on by a lunch with Irving Langmuir
Irving Langmuir
Irving Langmuir was an American chemist and physicist. His most noted publication was the famous 1919 article "The Arrangement of Electrons in Atoms and Molecules" in which, building on Gilbert N. Lewis's cubical atom theory and Walther Kossel's chemical bonding theory, he outlined his...

. Langmuir and Lewis had a long rivalry, dating back to Langmuir's extensions of Lewis's theory of the chemical bond. Langmuir had been awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work on surface chemistry, while Lewis had not received the Prize despite having been nominated 35 times. On the day of Lewis's death, Langmuir and Lewis had met for lunch at Berkeley, a meeting that Michael Kasha recalled only years later. Associates reported that Lewis came back from lunch in a dark mood, played a morose game of bridge with some colleagues, then went back to work in his lab. An hour later, he was found dead. Langmuir's papers at the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

 confirm that he had been on the Berkeley campus that day to receive an honorary degree.

Further reading

  • Coffey, Patrick (2008) Cathedrals of Science: The Personalities and Rivalries That Made Modern Chemistry. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-532134-0

External links