On the Density of Racemic and Homochiral Crystals: Wallach, Liebisch and Sommerfeld in Göttingen


  • Karl-Heinz Ernst Empa – Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology Laboratory for Nanoscale Materials Science Überlandstrasse 125 CH-8600 Dübendorf, Department of Chemistry University of Zurich Winterthurerstrasse 190 CH-8057 Zürich, Switzerland. karl-heinz.ernst@empa.ch




Arnold sommerfeld, Chiral crystallization, History of science, Otto wallach, Theodor liebisch


The first comparison of heterochiral crystals with their homochiral counterparts was given by Otto Wallach in an account on carvone bromide crystals in 1895 in Liebigs Annalen der Chemie. Although the well-known mineralogist Theodor Liebisch, professor in Göttingen from 1887 to 1908, performed the analyses and wrote the last four pages of that Annalen paper, his colleague from chemistry, Wallach served as sole author. We discuss whether Wallach or Liebisch had the idea of a comparative study of crystal densities of racemates and their homochiral analogues and who of the two should be credited.




How to Cite

K.-H. Ernst, Chimia 2018, 72, 399, DOI: 10.2533/chimia.2018.399.