March 7, 1928
Professor G.N. Lewis,
Department of Chemistry,
University of California,
Dear Professor Lewis:
You have no doubt seen London's recent paper in the Zeitschrift für Physik
and have observed that the results which he derives from the quantum mechanics regarding
the sharing of electrons are in the main equivalent to the rules which you had previously
postulated. It is, of course, your prerogative to point this out; but in the belief
that you would probably not do so, I have taken the liberty of referring to the fact
in the first part of a note concerning some further developments of the theory which
has been sent to the Proceedings of the National Academy (a copy is enclosed). If
this does not meet with your approval I shall make the changes you desire. In the
longer article for the Journal of the American Chemical Society I shall point out
in more detail the substantiation given your theory by the quantum mechanics. It pleases
me very much that in the new atomic model the salient features of the Lewis atom have
been reproduced as much as those of the Bohr atom.
In the lectures which I have been giving this year on wave mechanics with
chemical applications, I have reviewed thoroughly the work on the hydrogen molecule
and molecular ion, and have corrected several significant errors. In addition I have
carried through the calculations giving the interaction of two helium atoms. Professor
Noyes has suggested that this material should perhaps be published in Chemical Reviews,
and I have written Professor Wendt to see if he wishes it for the May issue. This
quantitative treatment of the simplest molecules is fundamental to the later consideration
of the chemical bond in general.
I have translated the dissertation of Goudsmit, and together we are now enlarging
it to form a monograph "The Atomic Model and the Structure of Line Spectra", which
will, I think, appear during the summer. I worked with goudsmit on Copenhagen on spectral
problems, and have found a knowledge of spectral theory very useful in attacking the
problem which interests me most - the nature of the chemical bond.
Sometime during the summer I shall drive from here to Oregon, and I hope
to have the pleasure of talking with you then. The seeds of advice which you plant
bear fruit; as witness our departure for Europe early in 1926.