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Published April 2017 | public
Conference Paper

Near-miss synthesis of a noble gas compound in 1933: Could it have been Harry Gray award-worthy?


Noble gas chem. began with Neil Bartlett's 1962 report, but there had been earlier unsuccessful attempts, including one study instigated by Linus Pauling and carried out in 1933 by Caltech professor Don Yost (along with his graduate student Albert Kaye), aimed at inducing xenon to react with fluorine. After 1962 a no. of commentators, including Bartlett himself, proposed a variety of reasons for Yost's failure; but as I will show, none of those stands up to detailed examn. I will offer a plausible alternative explanation, based upon a hitherto-unnoticed detail of Yost's exptl. design, that strongly suggests he could easily have succeeded with just a little more effort and/or luck.

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© 2017 American Chemical Society.

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