Molecules and Other Failures

Helge Kragh

in Niels Bohr and the Quantum Atom

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199654987
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741692 | DOI:
Molecules and Other Failures

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Bohr and his allies in quantum theory made use of chemical data, but without taking chemistry seriously. Conversely, Bohr’s atom theory was received with scepticism by the chemists, who did not find it useful for chemical purposes. To understand the covalent bond they designed static models that worked but were physically inadmissible. As an example, the chapter considers the theory of I. Langmuir. The Bohr theory was applied with some success to molecular spectroscopy, but it was unable to account for the structure of even the simplest molecules such as hydrogen and, as shown by W. Pauli, the even simpler hydrogen ion. Moreover, elaborate attempts to calculate the helium atom failed, which caused much concern. The chapter also deals with other anomalies of the early 1920s, such as the Paschen–Back effect in hydrogen and the Ramsauer effect.

Keywords: covalent bond; molecular spectroscopy; Irving Langmuir; hydrogen', 'helium; Paschen-Back effect; Ramsauer effect; Bohr theory

Chapter.  22159 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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