Paul Heinrich Von GROTH

Classe di Scienze fisiche, matematiche e naturali

Socio corrispondente dal 13 febbraio 1898
Nato a Magdeburgo il 23 giugno 1843
Deceduto a Monaco di Baviera il 2 dicembre 1927


After holding from 1872 the chair of mineralogy at Strasbourg, he was appointed in 1883 professor of mineralogy and curator of minerals in the state museum at Munich.

He carried out extensive research on crystals and minerals, and also on rocks. von Groth published Tabellarische Übersicht der einfachen Mineralien (1874-1898) and Physikalische Krystallographie (1876-1895, ed. 4, 1905), the latter of which was influential with the acceptance of crystallographic methods in the field of organic chemistry. In 1877 he founded the journal Zeitschrift für Krystallographie und Mineralogie, and subsequently served as its editor until 1920. In 1883, Groth compiled a monumental five-volume collection entitled Chemische Kristallographie, which contained crystalline morphology and physical property data on thousands of substances.

By Groth's time, Dalton's atomic theory was already well established. In 1888, Groth was the first to suggest the possibility that spherical atoms reside at equivalent positions of space lattices, which gave a physical significance to this still somewhat abstract idea of the regular and symmetric partitioning of space. The German physicist Leonhard Sohncke (1842-1897) had previously derived the 65 chiral space groups (i.e. those lacking an inversion center, mirror planes, or improper axes of rotation that invert the handedness of a crystal). The mathematical descriptions of the complete set of 230 space groups, including their symmetry elements, were thereafter derived independently by Schönflies, Fedorov, and Barlow. Finally, in 1922, Ralph Walter Graystone Wyckoff (1897-1994) authored The Analytical Expression of the Results of the Theory of Space Groups, a book which contained, among other things, tables with the positional coordinates, both general and special, permitted by the symmetry elements.


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