Dmitrii ivanovich mendeleev (1834-1907)

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The figure of Russian chemist Dmitrii Ivanovich Mendeleev (1834-1907) has long inspired the fascination of both chemists and philosophers. His bearded visage, which peers from the margins of countless chemistry textbooks, seems to recall the magus of medieval lore, and the principal achievement for which he is recognized - his formulation of the periodic system of chemical elements-hangs in every chemistry classroom in the world and might be the most ubiquitous icon of science today. He explored a variety of topics in physics and chemistry over the course of a very active scientific and political career. Distinctive about Mendeleev's work was his close (although not systematic) attention to various philosophical topics relating to his chemical work. This chapter briefly discusses Mendeleev's life, scientific research, and some of his views on the philosophy of chemistry. Mendeleev's early research projects, beginning in the mid-1850s, dealt largely with organic chemistry, the largest and most dynamic branch of chemistry at the time, particularly among the younger generation of Russian chemists. Mendeleev was often inconsistent concerning his attitude toward the existence of fundamental entities in chemistry, vacillating between strict realism in some areas, through instrumentalism to anti-realism in others. The entities he assigned to the three categories in many ways defy conventional interpretations of matter theory or chemistry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPhilosophy of Chemistry
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9780444516756
StatePublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Mathematics


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