Chemical Affinity in 1806

CA 1806 (1)
CA 1806 (2)

CA 1806 (4)CA 1806 (3)

In famous publications, Chemical Affinity in 1806 is a two-page subsection discussion on the human chemical thermodynamics of German polymath Johann Goethe’s 1809 novella Elective Affinities, found in chapter two “Thermodynamics and Chemical Reactions” of the 2004 book Heterogeneous Kinetics, by Japanese chemical engineer Tominaga Keii, in which Keii gives his opinion that Goethe’s treatise “did not add any scientific knowledge.” The section, which is shown below, seems to focus on the famous chapter four of Goethe's work, from which it quotes from at the end of the discussion: [1]


See main: Gibbs and Goethe
The two only other people to have, independently, made connections between Gibbs and Goethe, being: American science historian and Gibbs science biographer Fielding Garrison (1910), who commented the following: [2]

“Suppose chemical substances to be represented by a number of men and women of varying degrees of strength of character and "attractiveness," and suppose the marital combinations or what Goethe called the "elective affinities" between these men and women to be determined by certain mysterious "laws."

If a man strong in character should mate with a woman, weaker but otherwise "attractive," or vice versa, one set of observers might affirm that the union was due to the man's superior potentiality or masculinity, others might maintain that the real strength in the combination or "affinity" lay in the woman's "attractiveness "; or vice versa. Curiously enough, these anthropomorphisms, which seem so plausible and fascinating in Goethe's novel, are daily and hourly employed to explain the facts of chemical combination.”

and American electrochemical engineer Libb Thims, who after discovering Goethe in 2006 spent the following 18-months and 14-days writing out the world's first textbook on human chemistry. [3]

Works cited
The footnotes include references to the chemical affinity / chemical free energy works of Theophile De Donder (1922), Jacob Berzelius (?), Jacobus van’t Hoff, Willard Gibbs (1876), Torbern Bergman (1775), and C.M. Guldbergh and P. Waage (1864):

[14] Goethe, Johann. (1972). Elective Affinities. Insel Taschenbuch 1. Insel Verlag. Frankfurt am Main.
[15] Bergelins, J.J. (2000). Oxford Dictionary of Chemistry (pg. 68). Oxford University Press.
[16] Van’t Hoff, J.H. (1884). Etudes de Dynamique Chemique. Amsterdam: Frederick Muller & Co.
[17] Gibbs, J.W. (1961). The Scientific Papers of J. W. Gibbs. Dover.
[18] Goethe, J.W. (1971). Elective Affinities, trans. R.J. Hollingdale. Penguin Classics.
[19] Bergman, T.O. (1775). De Attractionibus Electivis, Upsala.
[20] ref. 18, Introduction to Hollingdale.
[21] ref. 18, pgs. 50-54.

● (a) De Donder, Theophile. (1922). “article”, Bull. Ac. Roy. De Belgique, Cl. des Sc. 5 serie, 8, 197.
(b) De Donder, Theophile. (1925). “article”, Comp. Rend. Acad. Sci. 180, 1334.
(c) De Donder, Theophile. (1936). Thermodynamic Theory of Affinity. Sanford Univ. Press, London.
● (a) Guldbergh and Waage (1867), are cited as the first to have arrived at the law of mass action.
(b) Quote: the most important issue of Guldberg and Waage seems to be that in an equilibrium system respective of processes balancing each other take place by a “chemical force” (chemical affinity) which is expressed in terms of “active masses” of chemical species.
(c) C.M. Guldbergh, P. Waage. (1879). “article”, J. Prakt. Chem. 19, 69.

The date of this chapter subsection seems to be a error, as Goethe did not even mention his soon-to-be scientific novella on human elective affinities until 1808. Hence, the date of 1806 by Keii seems to be a typo?

1. Keii, Tominaga. (2004). Heterogeneous Kinetics: Theory of Ziegler-Natta-Kaminsky (ch. 2: Thermodynamics of Chemical Reactions, pgs. 11-20; section: Chemical Affinity in 1806, pgs. 16-17). Springer.
2. Garrison, Fielding H. (1910). “A Note on Traube’s Theory of Osmosis and ‘Attraction-Pressure’” (elective affinities, pg. 285) Science, 32: 281-86.
3. (a) Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume One). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.
(b) Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume Two). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.

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