Lewis Structures: The Atom and the Molecule

Before the discovery of electrons in the 1890s great scientists like Isaac Newton and Jons Jakob Berzelius failed to adequately explain how atoms bonded together in molecules. However, in 1916 American chemist Gilbert Newton Lewis described a covalent bond as two atoms sharing an electron and created a two-dimensional model that represents covalent bonds as straight lines and unbonded valence electrons as dots, known today as a Lewis structure.

Lewis structures are still used in chemistry today to illustrate the bonding between atoms in a molecule as well as lone pairs of electrons that may be present.

Lee is a freelance writer with a keen interest in history and science.