Jacob Berzelius

Jacob Berzelius nsIn existographies, Jacob Berzelius (1779-1848) (IQ:180|#152) (Cattell 1000:424) (Murray 4000:2|C / 18|CS) (EPD:F4 / M9) (GCE:3) (CR:41) was a Swedish chemist noted for his 1806 book on animal chemistry, for his 1808 coining of the term "organic chemistry" (and seemingly the terms organic vs inorganic), his 1811 theory of electric dualism of affinity, his 1831 charge distribution atomic structure model, and his 1836 postulate of the “catalytic force” (catalyst), different from that of the force of affinity, possessed by some materials, and is the person who introduced the two letter nomenclature of elements, helium as "He". [1]

In 1818, Berzelius had determined the atomic weights for 45 of the 49 accepted elements.

The word “catalysis” was coined by Berzelius in 1835 who noted that certain chemicals or material speed up a chemical reaction:

“A catalyst is a substance which alters the velocity of a chemical reaction without appearing in the final products.”
— Jacob Berzelius (c.1835) (Ѻ)

Berzelius was also very interested in the relation between heat, affinity, and temperature in the context of chemical reactions. In his 1814 book Theory of Chemical Proportions, a forerunner to stoichiometry, Berzelius stated: [5]

Experience shows that heat is disengaged in every chemical combination when carried out in circumstances favorable to its perception, and that by the saturation of powerful affinities, the temperature often rises to the point of incandescence, whilst the satisfaction of the feeblest affinities is capable of only raising the temperature through a few degrees.”

Here we see an early connection between free energy (affinity), heat (enthalpy), and temperature.

Berzelius acid base model (1831)
Berzelius' 1831 charge distribution model of salts.

Acid base theory
The first semi-accurate model to account for charge distributions in molecules was proposed by Swedish physician and chemist Jöns Berzelius, in which salts are said to be comprised of acids (negatively charged components) and bases (positively charged components).

In 1807, Berzelius had become a chemistry professor at the Karolinska Institute, one of the largest medical schools in the world. Over the next several years, he wrote a chemistry textbook for medical students and in 1831 after studying the results of various electrolysisexperiments he outlined an electrochemical theory in which a salt has an atomic structure composed of an acid, with a negative charge, and a base, with a positive charge. [4] The acid and the base were further deduced to that of an acid anhydride, comprised of a positively charged radical attached to a negative oxygen, and a basic oxide, comprised of positive metal attached to a negative oxygen.

Molecules, according to this view, are three-dimensional structures comprised of positive and negative charges attached, in some way, to their structure. Berzelius’charge distribution model was based on the observation that salts in solution are decomposed by the electric current of a Voltaic pileinto bases, which attract towards the battery’s negative pole and therefore seem to carry a positive charge, and acids, which are drawn to the battery’s positive pole and therefore seem to carry a negative charge. [4]

Berzelius’ theories on charge distribution would later be used as a basis for the work of Irish physicist George Stoney, the person who coined the term electron in 1891.

See also: Protein thermodynamics
In the 1830s, on the advice of Berzelius, Dutch chemist Gerardus Mulder carried out elemental analysis of common animal and plant proteins. To everyone's surprise, all proteins had nearly the same empirical formula, roughly C400H620N100O120PnSm, where subscripts n and m are constants which vary per protein. In 1837, Mulder published his findings in which he hypothesized that there was one basic substance (‘Grundstoff'’) of proteins, and that it was synthesized by plants and absorbed from them by animals in digestion. Berzelius was an early proponent of this theory and proposed the name protein for this substance in a letter dated July 10, 1838: ‘the name protein that I propose for the organic oxide of fibrin and albumin, I wanted to derive from Greek word πρωτειος, because it appears to be the primitive or principal substance of animal nutrition.’

Meteoroid origin of life theory
The meteoroid origin of life theory (or panspermia) has been proposed by several

In 1834, Jacob Berzelius obtained samples of the Alais meteorite (a meteorite that had fell near the town of Alais in France in 1802) and subjected them to chemical analysis, and found the presence of carbon compounds, which to Berzelius meant life. [16] This seems to have been the start of the so-called "comet origin of life theory".

Berlin school of thermodynamics
Berzelius can be said to have been one of the early theoretical guiding posts in the formation of the Berlin school of thermodynamics. Specifically, in 1831, Berzelius was mentor to German chemist and physicist Heinrich Magnus, who in turn later became the mentor to a young German physicist Rudolf Clausius in the early 1840s, the core founder of thermodynamics.

Quotes | By
The following are noted quotes

“Chemical signs ought to be letters, for the greater facility of writing. I shall take therefore for the chemical sign, the initial letter of the Latin name of each elementary substance: but as several have the same initial letter, by writing the first two letters of the word.”
— Jacob Berzelius (c.1810), Publication (Ѻ)

“I can prepare urea without the aid of a kidney of man or beast.”
— Jacob Berzelius (c.1810), Publication; cited by George Scott (1985) in Atoms of the Living Flame (pg. 91)

1. Keii, Tominaga. (2004). Heterogeneous Kinetics: Theory of Ziegler-Natta-Kaminsky (ch. 2: Thermodynamics of Chemical Reactions, pgs. 11-20; section 2.5: Chemical Affinity in 1806, pgs. 16-17). Springer.
2. (a) Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume One) (Berzelius, Jons, pgs. 22, 95, 141, 213-14, 216, 248), (preview), (Google books). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.
(b) Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume Two) (Berzelius, Jons, pgs. 425, 527), (preview), (Google books). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.
3. (a) Berzelius, Jons, J. (1819). Traite de chimie, French translation, Paris, 1831, vol. 4. p. 536; Theorie des proportions chiumiques, Paris, 1918; 2nd ed., Paris, 1835, p. 43. f.
(b) Berzelius, Jon, J. (1836). Ann. Chim., ixi, 146.
4. Partington, J.R. (1937). A Short History of Chemistry. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.
5. Berzelius, Jons Jakob. (1814). An Attempt to Establish a Pure Scientific System of Mineralogy: by the Application of the Electro-Chemical Theory and the Chemical Proportions. London.

Further reading
● Berzelius, Jons Jacob. (1806). Animal Chemistry. Publisher.
● Kim, Mi Gyung. (2003). Affinity, That Elusive Dream – A Genealogy of the Chemical Revolution (Berzelius, Jacob, pgs. 434, 437, 4450. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press.

External links
Jöns Jacob Berzelius – Wikipedia.

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