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Alfred Werner

  • Swiss scientist
  • Born December 12, 1866
  • Died November 15, 1919

Alfred Werner (12 December 1866 – 15 November 1919) was a Swiss chemist who was a student at ETH Zurich and a professor at the University of Zurich. He won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1913 for proposing the octahedral configuration of transition metal complexes. Werner developed the basis for modern coordination chemistry. He was the first inorganic chemist to win the Nobel prize, and the only one prior to 1973.


Even when they are saturated in the sense of the older theory of valence, the elementary atoms still possess sufficient chemical affinity to bind other seemingly also saturated atoms and groups of atoms, under generation of clearly defined atomic bonds.




I started my scientific work by putting forward a hypothesis on the arrangement of atoms in nitrogen-containing molecules.




With the assistance of electrical conductivity, we were able to trace by measurements the process of intercalation in a large number of cases and, consequently, to establish experimental foundations for the evaluation of the formation of such intercalation compounds.



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