A Biography of Distingished Scientist Gilbert Newton Lewis

An excellent argument can be made, that G. N. Lewis is the most outstanding American scientist not to have won a Nobel Prize. In fact, the "American" adjective could be removed from that statement. Lewis contributed very significantly both to thermodynamics (the famous Pitzer and Brewer revision of Lewis and Randall's "Thermodynamics" was the text from which I learned thermo), and to quantum chemistry, where he was the first to realize that chemical bonds ordinarily are formed by pairs of electrons. In this short biography by the chemist son of the pioneer, the professional and personal life of an extraordinary researcher, writer, and leader is chronicled. Edward Lewis writes clearly, without the drama that a professional writer would have given this story, but with the love and the personal touches that only a member of the family could provide, about life and science on the west coast, where G. N. Lewis built the chemistry department at University of California-Berkeley from obscurity to amongst the best in the world. My longer review of this book appeared in J. Chem. Educ. 1999 76(11) 1487

Publication information
Pick Attribution: 

Edward S. Lewis

Publication Date: 
Thursday, January 1, 1998