In the beginning, the term actually made sense. When the alchemists and medieval metallurgists started doing experiments to quantify exactly how much iron, say was formed from the smelting of a given amount of iron ore, they found that the weight of the solid iron was always less than that of the ore.
Given the decrease in mass, a sensible name for the process was made: reduction.
That was more than 500 years ago.
Later on, Scheele, Lavoisier and Priestley independently discovered that the loss of mass was due to the expulsion of an element named (by Lavoisier) oxygen, and subsequent burning the metal in air led to its recombination. Hence, “oxidation”.
That was about 200 years ago.
Then came a general understanding of how atoms are composed of a positively charged nucleus and negatively charged electrons, and the introduction of the formalism known as the “oxidation state“, which is the hypothetical charge that an atom would have if all bonds to atoms of different elements of different elements were 100% ionic. It also works for ions, of course. So here’s the same reaction. See how oxidation leads to removal of electrons, and reduction leads to a gain of electrons.
That was about 70 years ago.
This also happens to be the first definition of oxidation and reduction I first learned in high school. When this was introduced in class, my first question – which is still asked by many students today, was:
“In what world does it make sense to call a process where electrons are gained “reduction” ? “
The answer from my high school chemistry teacher was, “well, you’re reducing the oxidation state – making it more negative”. Which was a very clever answer, completely jettisoning the inconvenient historical definition in favor of a simplistic mathematical one. Fortunately for him, I wasn’t fast or clever enough to counter with “then why isn’t “oxidation” called “addition”? (Feel free to use this yourself, however).
Result: I just memorized that “reduction” meant “adding electrons” and “oxidation” meant “removing electrons”. Which came in handy in general chemistry, with its seemingly endless balancing of complex redox reactions.
Just when this seemed settled in my mind, along came organic chemistry, with what was seemingly yet another way of defining oxidation and reduction. Agh!!!
At first glance, this seems a long way away from the Gen chem definition of oxidation being loss of electrons and reduction a gain of electrons.What does it mean to be a cougar? What to do if you are exposed to covid? How psychics use magicians' tricks to hear from the dead? How to check tax refund status? How to find the range of a graph? Tips for when you get your wisdom teeth out? What does leon mean? What does dei mean? How to roast peppers? What time is sunrise today? How to find force? What does it mean if you can t sleep? what characteristics of t2 helper cells What is a boycott? How to learn all the skate tricks in pokemon x? How much tips pay to nair manicure? Why do dogs eat q tips? New tricks what happened to sandra? Youtube how to do tricks on a ripstik? What does bristle mean? What is the meaning of regimen? What does it mean when a dog licks his paws? How to evolve sneasel? How to make italian dressing? What does jesus mean in hebrew? How to make a circle in minecraft? Where to find auger tips for ryobi hybrid? what is mothers little helper What breed of chicken can learn tricks real easily? Meaning of how come? How to clean a microwave? What is the meaning of black mirror? Are you receptive to the pay which is $5 + tips? How to relieve congestion? What does 20/15 vision mean? How to jailbreak a firestick? What is the meaning of life is a highway? What does fleas hate? What temperature is chicken done at? What does resentful mean? What does sc stand for? What does joules mean? How to sell extended warranties tips? How to cut curtain bangs? What does js mean on snapchat? What does san mean in spanish? How to get green out of hair? How to make nails stronger? How to perform magic tricks with coins? How to instantly connect with anyone 96 all-new little tricks for big success in relationships pdf? What does dns do? How to remove tape in extensions? What does selenite meaning? What does evp stand for? How to get a job at interview tips/b/? What are spark plugs? What is the meaning of muddled? What is the meaning of cover letter in job application? What are primary colors? How to reset your apple watch? Tricks to get to sleep when yoir brain won't stop? What does fp mean? How earlier tips becoming morning? Meaning of the song when i was your man? Madden 19 what to do with mut tips? Tips on how to make your old revolvers look good at the gun show? How to make an adjustable knot? What is the real meaning of st patrick's day? How to use hotspot? How to take a screenshot on hp? How to calculate square feet of a wall? What is a soaking sesh meaning? What is the meaning of emanation? Interview question tips what human-relations skills will you bring with you? How do you learn half pipe tricks? How to use icing decorator tips? What does the star mean on apple music? How to can peaches? What is the true meaning of the gettysburg address? How to set up apple watch? How to measure shoe size at home? How to squirt? How famous magic tricks are done? What does differentiate mean? How to remove tail pipe tips from a nissan altima? How to check vanillagift balance? What are mao inhibitors? What is the meaning of abs light in a car? How to cancel a paypal payment? What are nucleotides made of? What is my hair type? What is the meaning of meter in poetry? How to cancel amazon prime subscription? How to sleep with covid? Tips or tricks when husband breastfeeding? How to make yams? How to keep guacamole from turning brown? What time does the pharmacy open at walmart? What movies are on paramount plus?
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