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Irving Langmuir

Irving Langmuir

H412/0118

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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Irving Langmuir (1881-1957), the American chemical physicist. In 1901 he began 41 years of research with the General Electric Company. A diverse career saw him working on an improved light bulb, discovering atomic hydrogen and developing ideas on atomic structure (hence the Lewis-Langmuir octet theory of valence). He investigated surface films, thermionic emission, electrical discharge in gases & weather control. His studies led to his coining the terms electrovalence, covalence and plasma. Langmuir's ideas on surface adsorption advanced understanding of heterogenous catalysis and won him the Nobel prize for chemistry in 1932. Mount Langmuir in Alaska is named after him.

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