Atomic History Essay

892 words - 4 pages

Since the age of lore, the human mind has always reached out to find an explanation for all phenomena in which it was surrounded. A constant insight into nature and an awareness of being has always been necessary. Ever since then, the arms of the brain, starting off as fetal, reached out and set roots in atomic theory- all the way up until they became strong, vascular, and rigid with experimentation and specific classification of what life is based upon. Furthermore, the development of four elements called “roots”, from the Grecian philosopher Empedocles, became the basis for further experiments; thus leading to Post Socratic philosophies on the matter of matter and what it is composed of, and served as a fertile foundation for Alchemy which served as a foundation for all chemistry to follow.
The insight, spoken of in the latter paragraph, is an incomparably magnificent thing. The insight of the alchemists of approximately five hundred B.C.E can also be quite intriguing. But what was alchemy? The familiar response is that alchemists believed that if they were able to create the Philosopher’s Stone, or lapis philosorum, that they would be able to make themselves have eternal live, or complete the proverbial quest for fortune by trans-mutating base metals into precious metals such as gold, silver, or bronze by combining together precise amounts of tin, lead, or other substances. Typically, people focus on these things when it comes to discussing alchemy, but besides the transformations executed and the magic performed, wasn’t it just a spiritual quest in a psychoanalytic form to make sense of the universe. It follows that Alchemy could have been taken up at any time in the span of civilization, or by any one person and in any culture. Their combining of substances served as a basis for all chemistry to follow.
Enter, Leucippus; a Greek philosopher from the fifth century who was the first to develop the theory of Atomism, the idea that all things are composed of imperishable, and indivisible particles to be known as atoms. The word Atom comes from the Greek word átomos which means inseparable, or cannot be broken down into any smaller substance. Leucippus became a shadowy figure in the realms of scientific history because his dates were often not recorded and he was typically mentioned in conjunction with his pupil, Democritus. Democritus was a much better known philosopher, and by today’s standards, he is credited with the elaboration, and therefore the creation of atomism. Aristotle often doubted Democritus’ hand in the situation, claiming it was solely the work of Leucippus, and he was...

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