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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 13 Issue 3 (2008) pp 170-178

The Contributions of Solomon F. Acree (1875–1957) and the Centennial Anniversary of the Discovery of the Acree–Curtin–Hammett Principle

John Andraos

Department of Chemistry, York University, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3,
Received June 11, 2007. Accepted October 3, 2007.

Published online: 3 April 2008

Abstract. This paper describes the forgotten contributions of Solomon F. Acree to the understanding of the dynamics of kinetic systems that lead to multiple products. His seminal paper published in 1907 precedes those of Curtin, Hammett, Winstein, and Holness by nearly 50 years and is the true origin of the well known Curtin–Hammett principle and the Winstein–Holness equation. Acree's contribution was for products arising from equilibrating tautomers, whereas, that of Curtin, Hammett, Winstein, and Holness was for products arising from equilibrating conformers. In both cases the same principle applies. Exact solutions to the original kinetic scheme are presented with respect to product ratios at initial and final reaction times, including a new kinetic plasticity index which describes how pliable the kinetic system is to producing one product over the other. A brief biographical sketch of Acree is given including a listing of his contributions to various areas of chemical science.

Key Words: Chemistry and History; biography

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Issue date: June 1, 2008

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