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The German-Swiss inorganic chemist Alfred Werner, 1866-1919. Werner was born in Alsace but lived in Switzerland from the age of 20. He graduated from Zurich University and held a professorship there from 1895 until his death. From 1892 he worked on the inorganic complexes of metals, and he developed a coordination theory of molecular structure. This theory, that atoms could be distributed about a central atom in accordance with fixed geometric principles and regardless of valence (conventional combining power), immensely broadened understanding of chemical structure. It also earned him the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1913.
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