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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index W > Alfred Werner Quotes

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Alfred Werner
(12 Dec 1866 - 15 Nov 1919)

Swiss chemist who was awarded the 1913 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. He investigated stereochemistry, which he extended from the known property of carbon compounds and the variable valence of some metals forming complex compounds.


Science Quotes by Alfred Werner (6 quotes)

Nun wie gehts?
How goes it?
[Werners perennial salutation to research students, hence his nickname, Professor Nunwiegehts.]
— Alfred Werner
Quoted in Ralph Oesper, The Human Side of Scientists (1975), 188.
Science quotes on:  |  Nickname (2)  |  Professor (39)  |  Research (517)  |  Student (131)

Chemistry must become the astronomy of the molecular world.
— Alfred Werner
Autograph Quotation for a Charity, (1905). In G. B. Kaufman, Alfred Werner (1966), iii.
Science quotes on:  |  Astronomy (175)  |  Chemistry (239)  |  Molecule (125)

Gentlemen and ladies, this is ordinary alcohol, sometimes called ethanol; it is found in all fermented beverages. As you well know, it is considered by many to be poisonous, a belief in which I do not concur. If we subtract from it one CH2-group we arrive at this colorless liquid, which you see in this bottle. It is sometimes called methanol or wood alcohol. It is certainly more toxic than the ethanol we have just seen. Its formula is CH3OH. If, from this, we subtract the CH2-group, we arrive at a third colorless liquid, the final member of this homologous series. This compound is hydrogen hydroxide, best known as water. It is the most poisonous of all.
— Alfred Werner
In Ralph Oesper, The Human Side of Scientists (1975), 189.
Science quotes on:  |  Alcohol (16)  |  Beverage (2)  |  Bottle (13)  |  Compound (53)  |  Ethanol (2)  |  Final (33)  |  Formula (51)  |  Homologous (3)  |  Poison (32)  |  Toxicity (2)  |  Water (244)  |  Wood (33)

I should like to call the number of atom groups, with which an elementary atom coordinates to form a complex radical, the coordination number of the atom in question We must differentiate between valence number and coordination number. The valence number indicates the maximum number of monovalent atoms which can be bound directly to the atom in question without the participation of other elementary atoms Perhaps this concept [of coordination number] is destined to serve as a basis for the theory of the constitution of inorganic compounds, just as valence theory formed the basis for the constitutional theory of carbon compounds.
— Alfred Werner
In 'Beitrag zur Konstitution anorganischer Verbindungen', Zeitschrift fur anorganische Chemie, (1893), 3, 267-330. Translated in George G. Kauffman (ed.), Classics in Coordination Chemistry: Part I: The Selected Papers of Alfred Werner (1968), 84-87.
Science quotes on:  |  Atom (251)  |  Basis (60)  |  Carbon (48)  |  Complex (78)  |  Compound (53)  |  Group (52)  |  Inorganic (11)  |  Participation (7)  |  Question (315)  |  Radical (17)  |  Theory (582)

There is no such thing as chemistry for medical students! Chemistry is chemistry!
— Alfred Werner
In G. B. Kauffman, Alfred Werner (1966), 60.
Science quotes on:  |  Chemistry (239)  |  Medicine (322)  |  Student (131)

Your aim is no better than your knowledge of chemistry.
[On being shot at by a Polish student whom Werner had failed in an examination.]
— Alfred Werner
In G. B. Kauffman, Alfred Werner (1966), 59.
Science quotes on:  |  Aim (58)  |  Better (131)  |  Chemistry (239)  |  Examination (60)  |  Failure (118)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Shooting (6)  |  Student (131)


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Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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