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Q: Mendeleev Never Won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry?

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A: Do you really think Mendeleev should’ve won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry? On what grounds? After all, his only achievement was to devise the entire periodic table of elements, the miracle of organization and inference on which all of modern chemistry is based.

Mendeleev’s table was so good actually, that it even predicted the existence of elements that hadn’t yet been discovered. But here’s where politics rears its ugly head. In 1906, Mendeleev was selected by the prize committee to win the honor, but the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences stepped in and overturned the decision.

Why did they do that, you ask? The intervention was spearheaded by Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius, who had himself won the prize in 1903 for his theory of electrolytic dissociation. Mendeleev had been an outspoken critic of the theory, and Arrhenius seized the opportunity as the perfect chance to squeeze a few sour grapes.

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  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Lesson: Never trust those dirty Swedes.

  • ProfEssays

    I believe there are lots of similar stoties with nobel prize winners.

  • duane

    Yet another reason why prizes should not be given out to people for doing their work. Pay them their salary. That’s all they require.

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