Alfred Werner

Facts

Alfred Werner

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Alfred Werner
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1913

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”

Prize share: 1/1

Work

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 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.

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