Early impact of quantum physics on chemistry: George Hevesy's work on rare earth elements and Michael Polanyi's absorption theory [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Foundations of Chemistry 13 (1):51-61 (2011)
After Heitler and London published their pioneering work on the application of quantum mechanics to chemistry in 1927, it became an almost unquestioned dogma that chemistry would soon disappear as a discipline of its own rights. Reductionism felt victorious in the hope of analytically describing the chemical bond and the structure of molecules. The old quantum theory has already produced a widely applied model for the structure of atoms and the explanation of the periodic system. This paper will show two examples of the entry of quantum physics into more classical fields of chemistry: inorganic chemistry and physical chemistry. Due to their professional networking, George Hevesy and Michael Polanyi found their ways to Niels Bohr and Fritz London, respectively, to cooperate in solving together some problems of classical chemistry. Their works on rare earth elements and adsorption theory throws light to the application of quantum physics outside the reductionist areas. They support the heuristic and persuasive value of quantum thinking in the 1920–1930s. Looking at Polanyi’s later oeuvre, his experience with adsorption theory could be a starting point of his non-justificationist philosophy.
|Keywords||Reductionism Michael Polanyi George Hevesy Periodic system Quantum physics Theoretical chemistry|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
William T. Scott (2005). Michael Polanyi: Scientist and Philosopher. Oxford University Press.
Erwin Schrödinger (1944). What is Life? The Physical Aspect of the Living Cell. Cambridge University Press.
Eric R. Scerri (1998). Popper's Naturalized Approach to the Reduction of Chemistry. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 12 (1):33 – 44.
Karl R. Popper (1983). The Open Universe. Philosophy of Science 50 (4):651-656.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Mario Bunge (1982). Is Chemistry a Branch of Physics? Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 13 (2):209-223.
Hinne Hettema (2009). Explanation and Theory Formation in Quantum Chemistry. Foundations of Chemistry 11 (3):145-174.
Robert C. Bishop (2005). Patching Physics and Chemistry Together. Philosophy of Science 72 (5):710-722.
Robert Bishop (2005). Patching Physics and Chemistry Together. Philosophy of Science 72 (5):710-722.
Mario Castagnino (2010). Matters Are Not so Clear on the Physical Side. Foundations of Chemistry 12 (2):159-166.
Hinne Hettema (2008). Is Quantum Chemistry a Degenerating Research Programme? Logic and Philosophy of Science 6 (1):3-23.
Michael Chayut (2001). From the Periphery: The Genesis of Eugene P. Wigner's Application of Group Theory to Quantum Mechanics. [REVIEW] Foundations of Chemistry 3 (1):55-78.
W. H. Eugen Schwarz (2007). Recommended Questions on the Road Towards a Scientific Explanation of the Periodic System of Chemical Elements with the Help of the Concepts of Quantum Physics. Foundations of Chemistry 9 (2):139-188.
Hinne Hettema (2013). Austere Quantum Mechanics as a Reductive Basis for Chemistry. Foundations of Chemistry 15 (3):311-326.
Eric Scerri (2005). Some Aspects of the Metaphysics of Chemistry and the Nature of the Elements. Hyle 11 (2):127 - 145.
Peter Joseph Hall (1986). The Pauli Exclusion Principle and the Foundations of Chemistry. Synthese 69 (3):267 - 272.
V. N. Ostrovsky (2005). On Recent Discussion Concerning Quantum Justification of the Periodic Table of the Elements. Foundations of Chemistry 7 (3):235-239.
A. T. Balaban (2005). Reflections About Mathematical Chemistry. Foundations of Chemistry 7 (3):289-306.
Added to index2011-04-06
Total downloads62 ( #55,010 of 1,726,564 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #183,604 of 1,726,564 )
How can I increase my downloads?