Early Responses to the Periodic System by Kaji, Kragh, and Palló : Content: 2.6 After the Priority Dispute—M eyer and the German : Chemical Community : The priority dispute took place in the Berichte der Deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft and could be easily read by the chemical community, which at the time was dominated by organic chemists. How did the chemical community respond to the priority dispute? At first, no other papers could be found that explicitly discussed the priority dispute. It cannot be excluded that the correspondences reflected the dispute. But it is obvious that the authors who dealt directly or indirectly with the questions of atomism, elements, and their classification or the determination of atomic weights often mentioned the successful predictions of Mendeleev and showed some reticence concerning Meyer’s work. It seems that the success of (some) predictions of new elements influenced the process of forgetting about Meyer’s precautionary contribution and overemphasizing the role of the predictions in the process of acceptance. Several examples can be given to underline and explain these facts. The following paragraphs focus on Meyer’s standing in the physicochemical community. Meyer was a representative of physical chemistry, a specialization that, because of the efforts of Wilhelm Ostwald (1853–1932), started its institutionalization as a discipline, but did not play a dominant role in the chemical community then. Among physical chemists there was a type of “trench warfare” going on over the existence of atoms and the theory of solutions. There were several conflicts between Meyer and Ostwald. Meyer had reservations about the theory of dissociation and the establishment of the Zeitschrift für physikalische Chemie [Journal of Physical Chemistry], and later about the theory on osmotic pressure. Ostwald wrote to Svante Arrhenius (1859–1927) saying that, “Lothar wrote a very foolish article on osmotic pressure.”44 Meyer warned Ostwald on several occasions against being too critical in his journal. The repeated differences of opinion intensified with time. Meyer and Seubert’s book from 1883, Die Atomgewichte der Elemente aus den Originalzahlen neu berechnet [The Atomic Weights of the Elements Newly Calculated from the Original Numbers], was based on the ratio of atomic weights H:O=1:15,96. This was also a moot point.
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Title:                Early Responses to the Periodic System
Editor:             Masanori Kaji, Helge Kragh, and Gábor Palló
Edition             Illustrated
Publisher  :      Oxford University Press
Length:            344 pages
Size:                 10.6 MB
Language:         English + German
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