Born: 12 December 1866, Mulhouse, France
Died: 15 November 1919, Zurich, Switzerland
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Prize motivation: "in recognition of his work on the linkage of atoms in molecules by which he has thrown new light on earlier investigations and opened up new fields of research especially in inorganic chemistry"
Field: inorganic chemistry
Prize share: 1/1
The world around us consists of molecules that are composed of atoms. Charting the bonds and positions of atoms in space is one of chemistry's fundamental missions. In 1893 Alfred Werner contributed to the understanding of molecular structures of inorganic substances - chemical compounds that do not contain carbon. According to Alfred Werner, the attractive forces are not connected to certain directions in the atom but emanate uniformly from the middle of the atom. With a new coordination number for an atom's bonds, he shed light on the structures of substances.