The discovery of isomerism.

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Table of Contents

In chemical nomenclature, isomers are molecules that share the same molecular formulae but don’t always share the same properties because of the different arrangement of atoms.

  • Isomerism was discovered in 1827 when the German chemist Friedrich Wöhler prepared silver cyanate and found out that it had the same formula as silver fulminate; which was prepared a year earlier by the German chemist Justus von Liebig. Here is a photograph of the two chemical compounds.

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  • Silver fulminate is a highly explosive compound whereas silver cyanate is not. Silver fulminate is used in making “bang snap” fireworks which we all must’ve used or seen:

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  • The term“isomer” was introduced by the Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius in 1830.