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Letter from Linus Pauling to G.N. Lewis. March 7, 1928.
Pauling writes to update Lewis on his recent work, including details of a forthcoming publication in PNAS as well as ideas for future publications, including a translation of Samuel Goudsmit's dissertation.


March 7, 1928

Professor G.N. Lewis,

Department of Chemistry,

University of California,

Berkeley, Calif.

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.


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