Paul Walden

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Walden, Paul


(Pavel Ivanovich Walden). Born July 14 (26), 1863, in Rozul Volost (small rural district), now in Cesis Raion, Latvian SSR; died Jan. 22, 1957, in Hammertingen, Federal Republic of Germany. Chemist. Latvian by nationality.

Walden graduated from the Riga Polytechnical Institute and served as assistant lecturer there from 1888. He was professor of chemistry from 1893 to 1919. He was elected a member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences in 1910. He became a professor at the university in Rostock (Germany) in 1919. During World War II he was a professor of the history of chemistry at the University of Tübingen. In 1887-88, Walden measured the electrical conductivity of aqueous solutions of salts and explained its relationship to molecular weight. He detected a parallel between the ionizing ability of nonaqueous solvents and their dielectric permeability. Walden’s doctoral dissertation, Materials on the Study of Optical Isomerism (1898), contains the characteristics of the Walden inversion—the ability of optically active compounds to react and form substances with the opposite configuration.

During the period when he worked in Russia, Walden wrote several works on the history of chemistry, a large part of which is devoted to the history of Russian chemistry.


“Ocherk istorii khimii v Rossii.” In A. Ladenburg, Lektsii po istorii razvitiia khimii ot Lavuaze do nashego vremeni. Odessa, 1917. (Translated from German.)
Teorii rastvorov v ikh istoricheskoi posledovatel’nosti. St. Petersburg, 1921.
Optische Umkehrerscheinungen (Waldensche Umkehrung). Braunschweig, 1919.
Elektrochemie nichtwässeriger Lösungen. Leipzig, 1924.


Materialy dlia biografie heskogo slovaria deistviteV nykh chlenov imp. Akademii nauk, part 1. St. Petersburg, 1915.
Iz istorii estestvoznaniia i tekhniki Pribaltiki, vol. I (7). Riga, 1968. Pages 157-67.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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