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Theodore William RICHARDS

( Chemist, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1914.)

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Biography Theodore William RICHARDS
Richards, Theodore William (Richards, Theodore William) (1886-1928) (USA). Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1914.
Born January 31, 1868 in Germantown (Pennsylvania, USA), in a Quaker family, the fourth of six children in the family of artist seascape and landscape painter, William T. Richards and the poet Anna Metlak. His mother taught him at home. Richards spent summer months at his home in Newport, in Rhode Island, where their neighbor was a chemistry professor at Harvard University Dzh.P.Kuk Jr.. Cook awakened interest in science.

By doing just a second course of Haverford College in the age of 14 years, Richards surpassed other students in the knowledge of chemistry and astronomy. In 1885, he was better than all of the class graduated from college and received a bachelor of science degree in chemistry. Doing the same in the autumn of Harvard University to study with Cook, in 1886, he brilliantly finished it at the rate of chemistry.

As a graduate student Cook Richards in 1888 began studying the connection between the atomic masses.

Even in 1815, Englishman William Prout (1786-1850) suggested that the atoms of all chemical elements are built from atoms of hydrogen. He started from the experimentally established fact that the atomic weight of any element is approximately equal to times the mass of hydrogen. Atomic mass - is the relative mass of atoms of this element.

Several decades later, when the accuracy of measurements increased, Jens Jakob Berzelius (1779-1848) and Jean Servais Stas (1813-1891) found that the atomic weights are measured not by integers. Example, . atomic weight of chlorine was 35, . 5, . which excluded the possibility of constructing the atoms of this element of the hydrogen atoms or imply the possible existence of at least two types of chlorine atoms with different atomic masses, . a mixture - the natural chlorine,


. Italian chemist Stanislao Cannizzaro (1826-1910) proposed a rational system of atomic masses, . on the basis of which clearly distinguished between such fundamental concepts, . as atom, . molecule, . equivalent, . thus, . largely by making clear in the tangled question of the difference in the meanings of these concepts,
. Nevertheless, the reliability of the values of atomic weights by the end of the 19. remains questionable.

First, Richards began to determine the atomic weight of oxygen and hydrogen. He used the original method, by burning a certain amount of hydrogen with copper oxide, so that was defined by a certain amount of water. His results (weight ratio of hydrogen to the weight of oxygen both 1:15,96) contradicted the then prevalent view that the atomic weight of any element must be integer multiples of the atomic weight of hydrogen. Richards also clarified the atomic weight of copper, corrected it the earlier the number of 63,31 to 63.54

. To improve the accuracy of measurement, . he invented several new instruments, . including equipment, . prevents contamination of test samples with moisture from the atmosphere, . calorimeter, . had not been exposed to small temperature fluctuations, . caused by the substance under study, . and the turbidimeter - device, . allows visually determine the concentration or size of particles in solution,
. From 1888 to 1923 Richards accurately determined atomic weights of 25 items.

Confirmed that the cobalt atomic mass greater than that of nickel, despite the fact that he is the periodic table before Richards showed that, contrary to conventional theory is not atomic masses are the basis of chemical order. He found that lead in radioactive minerals is obviously smaller atomic mass than the 'normal' lead. This was one of the earliest evidence of the existence of isotopes - atoms of the same element with different atomic masses.

Study of thermodynamic properties of elements at low temperatures allowed Richards in 1902 to make observations, which anticipated the third law of thermodynamics, open three years later Nernst. Of special interest for Richards atomic volumes. According to them in 1907 formulated the theory of 'Compact' atoms, the atomic volume depends on the chemical state.

Once in 1888, Richards had received a Ph.D. from Harvard University, he received a scholarship Parker, allow to continue their education in Germany, in GцTttingen, Munich and Dresden University of. He studied there for Victor Meyer (1848-1897), Paul Ehrhardt Yannasha (1841-1921), Alexander Gerhard Kryussa (1859-1895) and Walter Mathias Hempel (1851-1916). The following year, after returning to Harvard, Richards became a teacher of quantitative analysis, in 1891 - the curator, and in 1894 - an assistant professor at Harvard University

. A year, . after the death of Cook, . Richards was again sent for training for a year abroad, . where he worked with Ostwald (Nobel Prize, . 1909) in Leipzig and with W. Nernst (Nobel Prize, . 1920) at the University of GцTttingen, . and later (in 1904) at the University of Berlin,
.

In 1901 - Professor at Harvard University, from 1903 to 1911 headed the Department of Chemistry, and from 1912 until his death was professor of chemistry.

Richards received the Nobel Prize awarded to him in 1915 (for 1914), 'for the accurate determination of the atomic masses of a large number of chemical elements'. Because of the war, he was unable to come to get my prize. In his Nobel lecture in Stockholm, he made later, on Dec. 6, 1919. In the study of atomic masses, he said, 'I was particularly inspired by the philosophical passion for knowledge of the fundamental nature of matter and its relationship with energy. Later, I became more and more clearly aware that a better understanding of the 'behavior' matter ... should give mankind a great power over life's circumstances'.

Richards' work was a fundamental contribution to chemical theory.

Leisure time he devoted to literature, music and art, painting, golf and sailing. His devotion to research and teaching activities have helped to make Harvard University a leading center for training specialists with higher chemical education.

Died April 2, 1928 in Cambridge (Mass.) 60.


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