Alfred Werner

Alfred Werner

Swiss chemist whose research into the structure of coordination compounds brought him the 1913 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
Werner earned his Ph.D. from the University of Zurich (1890) for work with Arthur Hantzsch on the oximes, a class of organic nitrogen compounds. His exploration of the three-dimensional arrangement of the oxime molecule proved to be a valuable contribution to stereochemistry. He subsequently worked with Marcelin Berthelot at Paris, returning in 1891 to Zurich, where he taught from 1893 until his death. He was reputed to be an excellent teacher.

In 1891 Werner presented his great contribution, coordination theory, which permitted a simple classification of inorganic compounds and extended the concept of isomerism. He and his students prepared many new series of compounds and fitted them into the new system. Though his views have been modified slightly, they are fundamental to modern inorganic chemistry and prepared the way for modern concepts of chemical bonding.

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