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Gilbert Newton Lewis (1875 - 1946) - Biography

By Todd Helmenstine

Gilbert N. Lewis

Lewis was one of America's most influential scientists.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory


October 23, 1875 in Weymouth, Massachusetts.


March 23, 1946 in his laboratory in the University of California Berkeley at age 70.

Claim to Fame:


  • Authored "The Atom and the Molecule" which introduced Lewis dot structures and the idea of valence bond theory.


  • Postulated the electron pair relationship of acids and bases that is known as the Lewis theory of acids and bases.


  • Authored "Thermodynamics and the Free Energy of Chemical Substances" which set the standard for chemical thermodynamics.


  • First to produce pure deuterium and isolated naturally occurring heavy water.


Notable Awards:


  • Distinguished Service Medal from the United States and the Cross of the Legion of Honor from France during World War I for his work and leadership of Chief of the Defense Division of Chemical Warfare Service.


  • Chairman and Dean of College of Chemistry at University of California Berkeley.


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