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in chemistry, the eight-electron arrangement in the outer electron shell of the noble-gas atoms. This structure is held responsible for the relative inertness of the noble gases and the chemical behaviour of certain other elements. The chemical elements with atomic numbers close to those of the noble-gas elements tend to combine with other such elements by losing, gaining, or sharing electrons; as a result of these processes their atoms attain the eight-outer-electron configuration of the noble-gas atoms. This observation, published in separate papers (1916) by the German chemist Walther Kossel and the American chemist Gilbert Newton Lewis, is known as the rule of eight, or octet rule, and is used to determine the valence, or combining capacity, of several chemical elements.