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Van 't Hoff & the Emergence of Chemical Thermodynamics
Centennial of the First Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1901-2001

By Willem J. Hornix & S.H.W.M. Mannaerts
December 2001
Delft University
ISBN: 90-407-2259-5
307 pages, 6 3/8 x 9 1/2"
$65.00 paper original

In 1901 van 't Hoff received the first Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his discoveries in reaction kinetics and osmotic pressure of solutions. This book presents an annotated translation of his seminal publication on chemical thermodynamics, in the Archives neerlandaises des sciences exactes et naturelles of 1885. In this paper he introduced the fundamental relation between osmotic pressure and concentration of solutions, the thermodynamic derivation of a corrected version of Guldberg and Waage's mass action law and the equilibrium constant K, and of "van 't Hoff's equation" and a precursor of "the Nernst equation". Van 't Hoff's presuppositions and derivations are scrutinized in a series of comments of members of the Working Party on Thermodynamics of the Royal Dutch Chemical Society, engaged in the preparation of the annotated translation. A series of invited papers, that conclude this memorial volume, treats other aspects of his physico-chemical work, an evaluation of his contributions to the emergence and development of chemical thermodynamics, and also the circumstances of van 't Hoff's move from Amsterdam to Berlin in 1896, and the reasons and interests of the parties involved, and, finally, an analysis of van 't Hoff's own reflections on scientific creativity.