Monday, September 3, 2018

Absurd to the n'th degree, not chemical cricket

It is easy to take for granted many scientific ideas and results that seem commonplace and reasonable to us today. However, when some ideas were first proposed or discoveries made they were greeted with scepticism, and even ridicule.

In 1913 the Braggs determined the crystal structure of sodium chloride. They were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1915. However, as late as 1927, the following letter appeared in Nature.

[Double click if you want to read a larger version].

I recently became aware of this in Crystallography: A Very Short Introduction by A.M. Glazer.

1 comment:

  1. [chuckle chuckle] Since there are no comments ....

    This is an old one! I remember it well from grad school, where the first molecule I worked on was ... NaCl! And yes, these were real, discrete, molecules in the gas phase. They reacted in molecular beams with K, Rb, or Cs to make KCl, RbCl, or CsCl, and we showed that "long lasting complexes" (in physics called "resonances") were produced.

    So yes, Virginia, there really ARE NaCl molecules!