Alexander William Williamson

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Alexander William Williamson (1824-1904) discovered accidentally the synthesis of ethers by reacting an alcohol with alkyl iodide in the presence of sulfuric acid (Williamson's synthesis), a decisive fact in overthrowing Berzelius' dual theory. He promoted the use of water type as the single type for deducing the constitution of inorganic compounds and most of the organic ones. In spite of serious physical disabilities, he became one of the few students who were awarded a doctoral degree by Liebig.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-368
Number of pages9
JournalEducacion Quimica
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Bleaching salts
  • etherification theory
  • galvanism
  • Prussian blue
  • ozone
  • water type


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