isomerī´səmər [key], in chemistry, one of two or more compounds having the same molecular formula but different structures (arrangements of atoms in the molecule). Isomerism is the occurrence of such compounds. Isomerism was first recognized by J. J. Berzelius in 1827. Early work with stereoisomers was carried out by Louis Pasteur, who separated racemic acid into its two optically active tartaric acid components by crystallization (1848). Pasteur's results were given theoretical basis by J. H. Van't Hoff and independently by J. A. le Bel (1864).
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