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Richard Wilhelm Heinrich Abegg (1869 – 1910) was a German chemist[1] and pioneer of valence theory. Because of his research he proposed that the difference of the maximum positive and negative valence of an element tends to be eight. This has become to be called Abegg's rule. He was a gas balloon enthusiast, which caused his death at the age of 41 when he crashed in his balloon in Schlesien.

Abegg received his PhD in 19 July 1891 under Hofmann at the University of Berlin. Abegg learned organic chemistry from Hofmann, but one year after finishing his PhD degree turned to physical chemistry while studying with Ostwald (Leipzig). Abegg later served as Nernst's (Göttingen) and Arrhenius' (Stockholm) private assistant.

He discovered the theory of freezing point depression and anticipated Lewis' octet rule by pointing out that the lowest and highest oxidation states of elements often differ by eight. He studied alkali metal polyiodides, electrochemical potentials in non-aqueous solutions, and the dielectric constant of ice.

Richard Abegg was the son of Wilhelm Abegg and Margarete Friedenthal. He was born in Danzig.[1] After attending Wilhelm high school in Berlin, Abegg matriculated in physical chemistry at the University of Kiel. Later, he shifted to Tübingen and Berlin.

In 1899, Abegg became Privatdozent and one of the leaders of the chemical institute in Breslau. One year later he became a professor at the university. Clara Immerwahr (first wife of Fritz Haber) studied and graduated under him. in 1909, he became full professor at the TH Breslau. Together with his colleague Guido Bodländer, he published on electro-affinity, then a new principle in inorganic chemistry.

Abegg occupied himself with photography and hot balloon trips. He was the founder and chairperson of the Silesian club for aeronautics in Breslau. Furthermore, he practiced an assessor's function in the presidency of the German air sailors' association. His wife Lina was also a ballooning enthusiast.

From 1901, Abegg was active with an electrochemistry journal as editor.

Abegg introduced the concept of the electro-affinity into chemistry and made the basis for the handbook of the inorganic chemistry (1905–1939).

In 1904, Abegg formulated the valence rule, after which the highest positive and highest negative electro-valence of an element yields 8 altogether. This is called Abegg's rule.

The Prussian secretary of state Wilhelm Abegg was his brother.
Books by Abegg

* Über das Chrysen und seine Derivate. Schade, Berlin 1891
* Anleitung zur Berechnung volumetrischer Analysen. Grass, Barth & Co, Breslau 1900
* Die Theorie der elektrolytischen Dissociation. Enke, Stuttgart 1903


1. ^ a b Chambers Biographical Dictionary, ISBN 0-550-18022-2, page 3

* Walter Hills (1911). "Obituary notices: Richard Abegg, 1869–1910; Michael Carteighe, 1841–1910; Oscar Guttmann, 1855–1910; Charles Hanson Greville". J. Chem. Soc. Trans. 99 (1): 599–602. doi:10.1039/CT9119900599.
* Am. Chem. J. 1910, 43, pp. 563-564.
* Walther Nernst (1913). "Obituary Richard Abegg". Berichte der deutschen chemischen Gesellschaft 46 (1): 619–628. doi:10.1002/cber.19130460182.
* J.R. Partington, A History of Chemistry, Macmillan, 1964, vol. 4, p. 662.
* I. Asimov, Asimov's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology (2nd Ed.), Doubleday, 1982, p. 625.
* A Biographical Dictionary of Scientists, Williams, T. I., Ed., Wiley, 1969, p. 1.
* Z. Elektrochem, 1910, 16, pp. 554-557.
* Neue Deutsche Biographie, Duncker & Humblot, 1953-1990, vol. 1, p. 7.

External links

* Nuclear Atom - contains and excerpt of Abegg's contributions.
* Abegg biography

Chemistry Encyclopedia

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