Equivalent human molecules

In science, equivalent human molecules refers to two or human molecules ‘equivalent’, in some way or another, in the sense of the possibility for human chemical reaction of human chemical bonding.

In 1885, American scientist Henry Adams, in a letter to his wife, introduced the term ‘equivalent human molecules’, as follows: [1]

“I am not prepared to deny or assert any proposition which concerns myself; but certainly this solitary struggle with platitudinous atoms, called men and women by courtesy, leads me to wish for my wife again. How did I ever hit on the only women in the world who fits my cravings and never sounds hollow anywhere? Social chemistry—the mutual attraction of equivalent human molecules—is a science yet to be created, for the fact is my daily study and only satisfaction in life.”

In modern terms, it would seem that what Adams means by “equivalent”, in this context, alluding to the attraction he has to his wife, would translated to discussions of entropic and enthalpic equivalents in the thermodynamics of human bonding.

1. (a) Adams, Henry. (1885). “Letter to Marian Adams”, April 12. (Letters, II: 608).
(b) Adams, Henry. (1988). The Letters of Henry Adams: 1892-1899, Volume 4 (equivalent human molecules, pg. xxviii). Harvard University Press.
(c) O’Toole, Patricia. (2006). The Five Hearts: an Intimate Portrait of Henry Adams and his Friends (equivalent human molecules, pg. 148). Simon and Schuster.
(d) Rowe, John C. (1996). New Essays on the Education of Henry Adams (pg. 81). Cambridge University Press.

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