Gilbert Newton Lewis Obituary

Topics: Gilbert N. Lewis, Wilhelm Ostwald, Chemistry Pages: 2 (598 words) Published: October 7, 2010
GILBERT NEWTON LEWIS passed away on March 23, 1946 in Berkeley, California in his laboratory at the University of California when he was working on an experiment with liquid hydrogen cyanide, and deadly fumes from a broken line had leaked into the laboratory causing him to have a heart attack, at the age of 70. Lewis was born on October 23, 1875 in Weymouth, Massachusetts. He was educated at home by his parents. He learned how to read at a very young age and was well educated until age thirteen when he started to enter the University of Nebraska. In 1894, Lewis transferred from the University of Nebraska to Harvard University, where he received a BS degree in Chemistry. Three years later, he continued to study at Harvard to pursue a Ph.D. in Chemistry. After receiving his Ph.D. at the age of twenty-four, he worked for Wilhelm Ostwald and Walter Nernst in Germany. He also spent years in the Philippines as a Superintendent of Weights and Measures for the Bureau of Science. He spent seven years working with systematic determination of the electrode potentials of the elements. The next year he returned to Cambridge, Massachusetts when 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. He became an assistant professor in 1907, associate professor on 1908, and full professor in 1911. In 1912 he married Mary Sheldon, daughter of Harvard Professor, and they had 3 children two sons and one daughter. He left MIT in 1912 to move to California to teach chemistry at the University of Berkeley. Several years later, he became the Dean of the College of Chemistry at Berkeley, where he spent the rest of his life. He was a brother of Alpha Chi Sigma, the professional chemistry fraternity. In 1916, he proposed his theory of bonding and added information about electrons in the Periodic Table of Elements. His theory was that there are eight electrons in the outer orbit of an...
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