Arrhenius: From Ionic Theory to the Greenhouse Effect

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Svante Arrhenius (1859-1927) left his mark on three fields that have become important in 20th-century science: physical chemistry (through his theory of ionic dissociation), climatology (through his model of the magnitude of the greenhouse effect on global warming), and immunochemistry (through his ideas concerning the chemical reactions of serum therapy). He exerted a strong influence on the selection of laureates for the early Nobel prizes in science and made popular science a new art form with Worlds in the ...
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Overview

Svante Arrhenius (1859-1927) left his mark on three fields that have become important in 20th-century science: physical chemistry (through his theory of ionic dissociation), climatology (through his model of the magnitude of the greenhouse effect on global warming), and immunochemistry (through his ideas concerning the chemical reactions of serum therapy). He exerted a strong influence on the selection of laureates for the early Nobel prizes in science and made popular science a new art form with Worlds in the Making; his widely read book on cosmic physics and cosmology. Students of chemistry know him through the Arrhenius equation which describes the temperature dependence of the rate constants of chemical reactions. In his scientific career Arrhenius crossed the boundaries between disciplines, particularly physics and chemistry, as well as those between countries. Starting out in his native Sweden, he moved to the German-speaking scientific world in the 1880s. His theory of electrolytic dissociation formulated in 1887 made him one of the pioneers of the new physical chemistry. Returning to Sweden in the 1890s he used his base as professor of physics at the University of Stockholm, and later director of the Nobel Institute for Physical Chemistry, to build an international network that covered Europe, Russia, and North America. Arrhenius's richly satisfying scientific life, described in colorful detail in Arrhenius: From Ionic Theory to the Greenhouse Effect, throws light on major themes of interest to both scientists and historians of science. Among these themes are: organization and styles in scientific work; competition and controversy in scientific practice; choice of research problems; creativity; and the development of new interdisciplinary fields.
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Highlights themes of interest to scientists and historians of science in the career of Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius (1859-1927). Crossing disciplinary boundaries, he contributed to physical chemistry trough the theory of ionic dissociation, to climatology through his model of the greenhouse effect and global warming, and to immunochemistry through his ideas on the chemical reactions of serum therapy. Among the themes are organization and style, competition and controversy, choice of research problems, creativity, and the development of interdisciplinary fields. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Importance of Carbonic Acid/Temperature of the Ground

    By Dag Stomberg (St. Andrews, Scotland)

    The Nobel-winning Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius had predicted and
    accurately calculated GLOBAL WARMING from fossil fuel combustion.

    Arrhenius' greenhouse law reads:"if the quantity of carbonic acid increases in geometric progression, the augmentation of the temperature
    will increase in arithmetic progress."

    This simplified expression is still used.

    This is a book for a better understanding of what we face.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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