Alexander William Williamson

English scientist
Portrait of Alexander William Williamson.

Alexander William Williamson FRS (1 May 18246 May 1904) was an English chemist.


  • The question whether our elementary atoms are in their nature indivisible, or whether they are built up of smaller particles, is one upon which I, as a chemist, have no hold whatever, and I may say that in chemistry the question is not raised by any evidence whatever.
    • "On the Atomic Theory," J. Chem. Soc., 2nd Ser., 1869, 7:328-365, on p. 365.

Quotes about WilliamsonEdit

  • Ethers are prepared by the Williamson synthesis, an SN2 reaction of an alkoxide with a haloalkane. This reaction works best with primary halides or sulfonates that do not undergo ready elimination. Cyclic ethers are formed by the intramolecular version of this method. The relative rates of ring closure in this case are highest for three- and five-membered rings.
    • K. Peter C. Vollhardt, Neil E. Schore (2011) Organic chemistry : structure and function 6th ed. Chapter 9. Further Reactions of Alcohols and the Chemistry of Ethers, p. 355.

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