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Particular Symmetries: Group Theory of the Periodic System

Pieter Thyssen*, Institute of Philosophy, KU Leuven, Kardinaal Mercierplein 2, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium

Arnout CeulemansDepartment of Chemistry, KU Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200F, B-3001 Heverlee, Belgium

Accepted: 2019-12-19 | Published Online: 2019-12-21 | DOI : 10.13128/Substantia-671


To this day, a hundred and fifty years after Mendeleev's discovery, the overal structure of the periodic system remains unaccounted for in quantum-mechanical terms. Given this dire situation, a handful of scientists in the 1970s embarked on a quest for the symmetries that lie hidden in the periodic table. Their goal was to explain the table's structure in group-theoretical terms. We argue that this symmetry program required an important paradigm shift in the understanding of the nature of chemical elements. The idea, in essence, consisted of treating the chemical elements, not as particles, but as states of a superparticle. We show that the inspiration for this came from elementary particle physics, and in particular from Heisenberg's suggestion to treat the proton and neutron as different states of the nucleon.
We provide a careful study of Heisenberg's last paper on the nature of elementary particles, and explain why the Democritean picture of matter no longer applied in modern physics and a Platonic symmetry-based picture was called for instead. We show how Heisenberg's Platonic philosophy came to dominate the field of elementary particle physics, and how it found its culmination point in Gell-Mann's classification of the hadrons in the eightfold way. We argue that it was the success of Heisenberg's approach in elementary particle physics that sparked the group-theoretical approach to the periodic table. We explain how it was applied to the set of chemical elements via a critical examination of the work of the Russian mathematician Abram Ilyich Fet the Turkish-American physicist Asim Orhan Barut, before giving some final reflections.

Consciousness, Information, Electromagnetism and Water

Marc Henry, University of Strasbourg, UMR 7140, 4 Rue Blaise Pascal, 67000 Strasbourg

Accepted: 2019-12-20 | Published Online: 2019-12-21 | DOI : 10.13128/Substantia-645


There are very few things that modern science does not yet understand. One of them is consciousness; another one is water. Our main idea is then that if consciousness and water remain mysteries for science, it may be because the apparently different problems they pose are in fact deeply entangled. Shedding light on one of them may thus have the effect of clarifying the other.

In this article we explore the idea that a mirror relationship may exist between an immaterial pair formed by consciousness and information on the one hand ,  and a quasi-material pair formed by electromagnetic radiations and water on the other hand. It is formally deduced through group theoretical arguments applied to Maxwell’s equations, that the so-called material world is not a 4D space-time continuum (named M4 hereafter), but rather a 5D-space-time-scale hyper-surface (named C5 hereafter) embedded in a 6D-continuum of consciousness (named V6 hereafter), identified as the vacuum state of quantum physics (static background) or the ether of general relativity (dynamic background). The new fifth degree of freedom in C5 is associated with the ability of living beings to grow from small size to larger size by keeping invariant their identity at all scales. The sixth degree of freedom in V6 is associated with the possibility for living beings to behave either as virtual non-observable entities, or as non-virtual observable ones. In both cases, life is associated with the ability to manage the information stored in the quantum structure of the V6- ether, or in the water shells surrounding all living cells in the C5- hyper-surface.

Memory capacities and associated bandwidths can be quantitatively evaluated from the theory and compared to experimental observations, hereby comforting the proposed approach. It follows directly from this model that space, time and mass can be considered as creations of consciousness in the form of persistent fields of bits. This strongly supports Eastern philosophical ways of thinking based on Vacuity, the only non-dual material reality. For Western minds, the model has the great advantage to address what life and consciousness could actually be, thanks to a mathematical framework unifying physics, chemistry and biology.

Vladimir Nikolayevich Ipatieff (1867-1952)   ̶  the eminent Russian-American chemist of the first half of XX century

Aleksander Sztejnberg, Professor Emeritus, University of Opole, Oleska 48, 45-052 Opole, Poland

Accepted: 2019-12-20 | Published Online: 2019-12-21 | DOI : 10.13128/Substantia-645


Vladimir Nikolayevich Ipatieff (1867–1952) was one of the most prominent chemists of the first half of the 20th century. He studied catalytic processes in organic chemistry. His discoveries include, among others, the explanation of the structure of isoprene, the method of obtaining butadiene from ethanol, dehydrogenation of alcohols to aldehydes and ketones, dehydration of alcohols to alkenes, including ethanol to ethylene, hydrogenation of benzene to cyclohexane, polymerization of ethylene in the presence of various catalysts. Much of his experimental studies were carried out at high pressure in a rotating autoclave, the so-called “Ipatieff bomb”. The purpose of this article was to familiarize readers with important events in the life of V. N. Ipatieff and his research activities, in particular with selected results of his experimental studies. In addition, the statements by American and Russian chemists about V. N. Ipatieff and his research were presented.

The reinvention of the nitrous gas eudiometrical test in the context of Dalton’s law on the multiple proportions of combination

Pere Grapí, Societat Catalana de Química

Accepted: 2020-01-09 | Published Online: 2020-01-10 | DOI : 10.13128/Substantia-620


Dalton’s chemical atomism was inspired by his physical fascination with gases and developed through his chemical investigation. In regard to the latter, Dalton’s very first chemical experiments on nitrogen oxides enabled him to identify the first verifiable case of multiple proportions of combination, as well as playing a significant role in the process of establishing the basis for the reinvention of the nitrous gas eudiometer. Nevertheless, the eudiometrical background of Dalton’s trials on the oxides of nitrogen is yet to be elucidated. His interest in the nitrous gas test was in principle concerned with the justification of his statement on the multiple combining proportions, rather than with the improvement of the test as a eudiometrical method for verifying the oxygen content in common air. On the whole, after passing through Dalton’s hands, the nitrous gas test was returned to eudiometrists as a simpler type of the eudiometrical test than those performed with the latest nitrous gas eudiometers. In 1809, in line with Dalton’s suggestions, Gay-Lussac was eventually able to deliver a reshaped version of the nitrous gas eudiometer.

Astatine - The Elusive One

Keith Kostecka, Science and Mathematics Department, Columbia College Chicago, USA

Accepted: 2020-01-09 | Published Online: 2020-01-10 | DOI : 10.13128/Substantia-586


Astatine has proven, since its isolation by Corson, Mackenzie and Segre in 1940 to be an element with a fascinating history with respect to its discovery, confirmation and naming.  It has also proven to have an interesting set of physical and chemical properties as well as isotopes of significant note.  This element also has several applications of note as well as a captivating chemistry and the question whether it is or is not diatomic.