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A history of the advances in chemistry, in the fields of inorganic, organic and physical chemistry from the mid-nineteenth century through the early 1900s. Included are brief biographical sketches of some early pioneers in the field such as Mendeleev, Liebeg, Williamson, Dewar and others. Chapters covering the discovery of new elements, the developing understanding of structure, properties and reactivity, the beginnings of practical organic synthesis and the early work on stereoisomerism show how the way was paved for the discoveries that followed in the 20th century. Thorpe's observation in Chapter 10 that “Organic chemistry has been largely developed by the discovery from time to time of special reagents and special types of reactions which have shown themselves to be capable of extensive application” continues to be true to this day.
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