, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 75–77 | Cite as

Throwing heat and light on Walther Nernst

Hans-Georg Bartel and Rudolf P. Huebener: Walther Nernst: pioneer of physics and of chemistry. World Scientific, New Jersey, 2007, viii + 394 pp, $62.00 HB
  • Jeff Ramsey
Book Review

Walther Nernst (1864–1941) is a central figure in the history of physical chemistry and an important figure in late nineteenth and early twentieth century German science. He won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 1920 for his discovery of the Third Law of Thermodynamics. In addition, he made fundamental contributions to electrochemistry, the theory of solutions, thermodynamics, solid state chemistry and photochemistry. His textbooks in physical chemistry were central to the field. Nernst was also an inventor whose research and inventions flowed from a nexus of linked theoretical and technological issues. Nernst helped found the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft (later the Max Planck Society) and was the host of and a regular participant in the famous Friday afternoon physics discussions in the early 1920s that included Einstein, Planck, von Laue, and Schrödinger among others.

Given Nernst’s stature and influence, it is perhaps surprising that until now we have had no biography in English that...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, and Program in the History of Science and TechnologySmith CollegeNorthamptonUSA

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