Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma
late 14c., "a breaking into parts," from Old French resolution (14c.) or directly from Latin resolutionem (nominative resolutio) "process of reducing things into simpler forms," from past participle stem of resolvere "loosen" (see resolve). Sense of "a solving" (as of mathematical problems) first recorded 1540s, as is that of "power of holding firmly" (cf. resolute). Sense of "decision or expression of a meeting" is from c.1600. Meaning "effect of an optical instrument" is from 1860.
resolution res·o·lu·tion (rěz'ə-lōō'shən)
The subsiding or termination of an abnormal condition, such as a fever or an inflammation.
The act or process of separating or reducing something into its constituent parts.
The fineness of detail that can be distinguished in an image, as on a video display terminal.
in chemistry, any process by which a mixture called a racemate (q.v.) is separated into its two constituent enantiomorphs. (Enantiomorphs are pairs of substances that have dissymmetric arrangements of atoms and structures that are nonsuperposable mirror images of one another.) Two important methods of resolution were employed by Louis Pasteur. The first of these, known as the method of spontaneous resolution, can be used if the racemic substance crystallizes as a conglomerate composed of observably different particles of the two enantiomorphs, which can be physically sorted. Only a few instances of this condition have been reported; consequently, this method, although of historical and theoretical interest, seldom is applicable. Pasteur's second method, however, is of much greater practicality: it is based upon the conversion of the mixture of enantiomorphs into a mixture of diastereoisomers (optical isomers that are not mirror images of one another), which differ in physical properties and therefore can be separated. This transformation requires the use of a previously obtained optically active substance. For example, Pasteur showed in 1853 that, when racemic acid is mixed with a naturally occurring base, such as cinchonine, the resulting salt is a mixture of diastereoisomers and no longer one of enantiomorphs. The two salts present in the mixture, therefore, have different solubilities and so are separable