Investigating electrical discharges in gases, electron emission, and the high-temperature surface chemistry of tungsten, Langmuir greatly extended the life of the tungsten-filament light bulb. He also developed a vacuum pump, high-vacuum tubes used in radio broadcasting, and an atomic hydrogen blowtorch capable of producing temperatures greater than 3,000 C (6,000 F).
Working independently of the American atomic chemist Gilbert N. Lewis,
Langmuir formulated theories of atomic structure and chemical bond formation
and introduced the term covalence. In 1946 he and his associates began
to explore the possibility of inducing rainfall by seeding clouds with
silver iodide and solidified carbon dioxide.
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