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Recently, I read through a short article on Nature Chemistry, written by Michelle Francl, titled "Talking to Pauling's ghost". The article talks about how electron promotion was never something that was conceived by Pauling when he devised the theory of hybridisation. Instead, it likely arose from misinterpretations and mistranslations over the years.

It has been established very well on this site that hybridisation does not refer to a physical process and is merely a mathematical construct. This is consistent with the view presented by Francl. However, what I do not seem to understand is why the alternative view of seeing hybridisation as electron promotion and orbital "mixing" has become so prevalent, if it is so inaccurate. Clearly, there must be some truth in the alternative view. Is there?


Reference: Francl, M. Talking to Pauling’s ghost. Nature Chem 2018, 10 (7), 688–689. DOI: 10.1038/s41557-018-0099-3.

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    $\begingroup$ Some people believe that Earth is flat. What's surprising about that? $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Jun 30 '18 at 7:45
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry for being uneducated, what I have to understand under electron promotion? With theconcept of hybridization I’m very familiar. $\endgroup$ – HolgerFiedler Jun 30 '18 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ There's no "alternate view", just a bunch of highschoolers putting arrows in squares. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Jun 30 '18 at 21:53
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    $\begingroup$ @Mithoron I disagree. I have seen textbooks, as well as chemistry educators, advancing this view. $\endgroup$ – Tan Yong Boon Jul 1 '18 at 0:52
  • $\begingroup$ Is the bone of contention about something which is just useful versus what is real? The planetary model of the atom isn't real but it is a useful abstraction upon which a better model can be constructed. LCAO isn't real but it sure seems like a useful abstraction. A different abstraction is Newton's concept of gravity. Works well for 99.9% of physics that we use. There is no point in using Einstein's extension in most cases just because it is closer to reality. (Since we're still missing the grand theory of everything, I doubt that Einstein's concept of gravity is in fact "real.") $\endgroup$ – MaxW Jul 14 '18 at 16:10

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