The subject of oxidation presents one of the most fascinating themes in the entire domain of chemistry. The various views which have been held regarding the nature of combustion and oxidation have always exercised a profound influence on chemical thought and on biological science and medicine. Modern views regarding the nature of oxidation date from the work of Lavoisier, who observed that, in the process of oxidation, oxygen adds itself to the substance oxidized, and that the resulting one or more products weigh more than the original material by exactly the weight of oxygen required to effect the oxidation.
It is not within the scope of this lecture to recount the views which have been held regarding the mechanism of oxidation in general. It would also be quite futile to review the whole subject of vital oxidation in the time at our disposal. I shall therefore confine my remarks to