Svante August Arrhenius

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Arrhenius, Svante August

(sfän`tə, ärā`nēəs), 1859–1927, Swedish chemist. He was a professor of physics in Stockholm in 1895 and became director of the Nobel Institute for Physical Chemistry, Stockholm, in 1905. For originating (1884, 1887) the theory of electrolytic dissociation, or ionization, he received the 1903 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He also investigated osmosis and toxins and antitoxins. His works, translated into many languages, include Immunochemistry (1907), Quantitative Laws in Biological Chemistry (1915), The Destinies of the Stars (tr. 1918), and Chemistry in Modern Life (tr. 1925).
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Arrhenius, Svante August


Born Feb. 19, 1859, on the estate of Wijk, near Uppsala; died Oct. 2, 1927, in Stockholm. Swedish physical chemist. Member of the Swedish Academy of Sciences (1901). Honorary member of the academies and societies of many countries, including the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1926). Honorary doctor of such universities as Cambridge, Oxford, and Birmingham. Originator of the theory of electrolytic dissociation, which is one of the greatest chemical generalizations of the 19th century.

Arrhenius graduated from the University of Uppsala. Beginning in 1882 he worked in the Physical Institute of the Academy of Sciences in Stockholm; in 1895 he became professor at the University of Stockholm; in 1905 he became director of the Nobel Institute. Beginning the study of the conductivity of dilute aqueous solutions of acids and other electrolytes in 1882, Arrhenius came to the conclusion in 1887 that in solution the molecules of electrolytes dissociate into electrically charged components—that is, ions. The theory of electrolytic dissociation elucidated the connection between phenomena that would seem to be independent of each other—for example, between conductivity and the reactive capacity of electrolytes. His theory served as the basis for further work in the area of solutions by W. Ost-wald, J. van’t Hoff, and others. Since solutions are widespread throughout nature and are important in practical work, Arrhenius’ discovery helped clarify complex problems not only in the areas of physics and chemistry but also in biology, geology, and other sciences. However, Arrhenius’ theory did not entirely take into account the complexity of the interactions of the dissolved particles with each other and with the solvent; his quantitative conclusions were found to apply only to highly dilute aqueous solutions. Further study of concentrated solutions of strong electrolytes and nonaqueous solutions led to the formulation of the current theory about solutions, which does not exclude Arrhenius’ theory but extends and complements it with new generalizations. Arrhenius is also responsible for important discoveries in the area of the study of the rates of chemical reactions; he derived the equation linking the rate of a reaction with temperature (Arrhenius’ equation, 1889).

Arrhenius engaged in research in astronomy and astrophysics (for example, the temperatures of planets, the theory of the sun’s corona, and the formation and evolution of heavenly bodies) and in the application of physical and chemical laws to biological processes. Arrhenius’ hypothesis about the immortality of living matter and about the transfer of embryonic life from one planet to another was mistaken. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1903.


Recherches sur la conductibilité galvanique des électrolytes. Stockholm, 1884.
Quantitative Laws in Biological Chemistry. London, 1915.
In Russian translation:
Sovremennaia teoriia sostava elektroliticheskikh rastvorov. St. Petersburg, 1890.
Teorii khimii. St. Petersburg, 1907.
Ibid. Odessa, 1912.


Solov’ev, Iu. I., and N. A. Figurovskii. Svante Arrenius[1859–1927]. Moscow, 1959.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Svante Arrhenius creyo mas en su teoria que en sus profesores, pero comprendiendo que sus ideas eran muy revolucionarias para su epoca, la aguo antes de exponerla en su tesis doctoral con lo que seguramente confundio al tribunal.
Svante Arrhenius habia defendido en la Academia Sueca la candidatura de Marie Sklodowska Curie (1867-1934) para su segundo premio Nobel, esta vez en Quimica, que le fue concedido en 1911; "en reconocimiento de sus servicios en el avance de la Quimica por el descubrimiento de los elementos radio y polonio, el aislamiento del radio y el estudio de la naturaleza y compuestos de este elemento".
El dos veces doctor y quizas el mejor autor tecnico del siglo XX, Samuel Glasstone (1897-1986) indica: "que el metodo mas satisfactorio para expresar la influencia de la temperatura sobre la velocidad de reaccion es el descrito por Svante Arrhenius en 1889 siguiendo las ideas de van't Hoff de 1884."
Fuera de su campo de trabajo, en 1896 Svante Arrhenius tambien se adelanto a su tiempo trabajando en un tema que hoy preocupa a toda la sociedad; descubrio teoricamente el calentamiento global del planeta.
En el libro " La ciencia al dia" de Charles Gibson del que no he sido capaz de encontrar la fecha de publicacion, que si siempre es necesario en este caso resulta imprescindible, se incluye una introduccion del profesor Svante Arrhenius, premio Nobel de quimica, sobre la utilidad de las teorias.
The relationship between temperature change and carbon dioxide was first discussed in the 1860s, and first taken seriously by a Swedish scientist named Svante Arrhenius in 1896.
1896 -- Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius becomes the first to quantify carbon dioxide's role in keeping the planet warm.
In a pithy and powerful introduction to global warming, author Elizabeth Kolbert includes the story of Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius. When he started studying climate dynamics in the 1890s, scientists already knew that atmospheric carbon dioxide traps heat and warms the Earth.
In the case of another planet, with essentially nothing to go on but the telescopic appearance of impenetrable clouds, chemistry Nobel laureate Svante Arrhenius asserted flatly in 1918 that "everything on Venus is dripping wet."