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My writing style for Chemistry of the Elements


Atomic weights issues in Chemistry of the Elements
Norman Greenwood Scientist
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And having established the ways in which the elements were formed, that then naturally went on to the atomic theory, the periodic table, which we’ve briefly mentioned, this astonishing development of Mendeleev and others in the 19th century, which put some shape to our thinking, and that then led on to atomic weights, which again, in all textbooks that I’m familiar with, skated over the facts that we have these 92 atoms. Why? Why do they have the weights they have? Why in some is there only a single isotope? Why in some is there as many as seven or eight stable isotopes? If they have isotopes, what about the atomic weight, we’ve talked about that varying.

So all of those are themes, which are really important in the growing of the subject. And they were all background themes that I put in at the beginning of the book.

Norman Greenwood (1925-2012) was born in Australia and graduated from Melbourne University before going to Cambridge. His wide-ranging research in inorganic and structural chemistry made major advances in the chemistry of boron hydrides and other main-group element compounds. He also pioneered the application of Mössbauer spectroscopy to problems in chemistry. He was a prolific writer and inspirational lecturer on chemical and educational themes, and held numerous visiting professorships throughout the world.

Listeners: Brian Johnson

Professor Brian FG Johnson FRS, FRSE, FRS Chem, FAcad Eu, FAS. Professor of Inorganic Chemistry University of Edinburgh 1991-1995, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry University of Cambridge 1995-2005, Master Fitzwilliam College Cambridge 1999-2005. Research interests include studies of transition metal carbonyls, organometallic chemistry, nano- particles and homogeneous catalysis. Professor Johnson is the author of over 1000 research articles and papers.

Tags: Chemistry of the Elements, Dmitri Mendeleev

Duration: 1 minute, 50 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2011

Date story went live: 25 November 2011