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Published August 2016 | public
Conference Paper

Why isn't noble gas chemistry 30 years older? The failed (?) 1933 experiment of Yost and Kaye


The first report of a noble gas compd., by Neil Bartlett in 1962, was quickly followed by a no. of others. Of course there ha been previous attempts, of which the best documented is probably that of Caltech inorg. chem. professor Donald Yost and student Albert Kaye; details of their unsuccessful expts. aimed at getting xenon to react with fluorine or chlorine were publ in JACS in 1933. After Bartlett"s success, a no. of commentators looked back to Yost"s paper and offered a variety of poss reasons for Yost"s failure. Examn. of the actual details of Yost's paper, in comparison with those of the later successful rep refutes all of those interpretations, whereas one particular detail of Yost's expt., which appears to have gone completely unnoticed, provides a plausible explanation for why Yost did not beat Bartlett and his contemporaries by nearly 30 years, a strongly suggests that with a little more effort and/or luck he could well have done so.

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© 2016 American Chemical Society.

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August 20, 2023
October 20, 2023