Concept

Nevil Sidgwick

Summary
Nevil Vincent Sidgwick FRS (8 May 1873 – 15 March 1952) was an English theoretical chemist who made significant contributions to the theory of valency and chemical bonding. Sidgwick was born in Park Town, Oxford, the elder of two children of William Carr Sidgwick, lecturer at Oriel College, and Sarah Isabella (née Thompson), descended from a notable family; her uncle was Thomas Perronet Thompson. He was initially educated at Summer Fields School but, after a year, he entered Rugby School in 1886. From there he was elected to an open scholarship in Natural Science at Christ Church, Oxford. He gained a first in 1895, and went on to gain another first in Greats in 1897, a very rare feat. His principal interest, though, was science, and he spent some time in Wilhelm Ostwald’s laboratory in Germany, where he fell ill and had to go home. He returned to Germany in the autumn of 1899, this time in Hans von Pechmann’s lab at the University of Tübingen. His researches on derivatives of acetone-dicarboxylic acid resulted in his being award a DSc in 1901. Sidgwick was elected to a Fellowship at Lincoln College, where he went into residence in October 1901 and remained for the rest of his life. In 1914 Sidgwick was one of the members of the party chosen to represent the British Association for the meeting held in Australia. On 1 July he set sail on the maiden voyage of the Euripides from London to Brisbane, disembarking at Adelaide. A fellow first-class passenger was Sir Ernest Rutherford, who had been knighted that year. Sidgwick became a devotee of the physicist, and would hear no criticism of him in later years. On the return journey, via Penang, in November 1914, a fellow passenger on the Kashima Maru was the astronomer and physicist Professor A S Eddington. Sidgwick became absorbed by the study of atomic structure and its importance in chemical bonding. He explained the bonding in coordination compounds (complexes), with a convincing account of the significance of the dative bond.
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