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Twenty-Five Years of Chemistry in Russia

Nature volume 50, page 231 | Download Citation



IN November last, the Russian Chemical and Physical Society commemorated the twenty-fifth anniversary of its foundation, and the addresses delivered on this occasion are now published in a separate pamphlet, as an appendix to its journal. The activity of the Russian chemists having been chiefly centred round the Society, the addresses on the progress of physical chemistry, by N. N. Beketoff; of organic chemistry, by N. A. Menshutkin; on researches in the aromatic series, by Th. Beilstein—all in connection with the Russian Chemical Society—may be taken as so many excellent reviews of the progress of these respective branches of chemistry in Russia. The first two addresses are especially full of interest, as there is not one of the great questions which have occupied the attention of chemists during the last five-and-twenty years to which Russian chemists have not contributed some work of importance. The researches in connection with the periodical law, by its discoverer himself, and later on by Bazaroff and Prof. Flavilzky; the work of Prof. Gustavson, on the double substitutions of anhydrides; the researches of Prof. Potylitzin, into the mutual substitutions of haloids, also in the absence of water and at a high temperature, which induced Berthelot to make new researches in order to verify his law; and the discovery, by the same chemist, of the dependency between the limit of substitution of chlorine by bromine and their atomic weights, are passed in review. Next come P. D. Khrushchoff's researches into the heat of solution of mixtures of salts, which gave a further confirmation of the Berthelot, Guldberg, and Waage's law; the well-known exhaustive researches of Prof. Menshutkin into the speeds of reactions; and those of Kajander (prior to those of Arrhenius), into the dependency of these speeds upon the electrical conductibility of the combining bodies; the thermo chemical work of Lughinin and Werner, and other works of minor importance. And, finally, the Russian chemists have contributed many and varied researches into the dependencies of physical properties of bodies upon their chemical composition and structure; such, for instance, as Goldstein's, which have led to the discovery of a law expressing the rise of the boiling point of many hydrocarbons as a function of their molecular weights; while the important contributions of Mendeléef, Konovaloff, Alekséeff, and also Scherbacheff, to the theory of solutions, and Prof. Bunge's work in electrolysis, are well known to West European scientists.

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