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History Of Chemistry Essay

1072 words - 5 pages

Chemistry has been around for a very long time. Chemistry dates back to as far as the prehistoric times. If you put the amount of time chemistry takes up in a timeline, you would split it into four general categories. The four categories are: prehistoric times - beginning of the Christian era (black magic), beginning of the Christian era - end of 17th century (alchemy), end of 17th century - mid 19th century (traditional chemistry), and mid 19th century - present (modern chemistry).

It starts in the beginning of the Christian era (black magic). In 1700 BC, when known metals were first recorded and listed. In 430 BC, Democritus proclaimed the atom to be the simplest form of matter, which is composed of atoms. In 300 BC, Aristotle states that all matter is made up of fire, air, water, and earth.

The next era is also in the beginning of the Christian era, but at the end of the 17th Century, Alchemy. In 300 BC- 300 AD, Alchemists attempted to turn cheap metals into gold with the substance called the Philosopher’s Stone. In the 1200’s- 1400’s, transmutation of cheap metals to gold never happened within this time period. In 1520, Alchemists wanted to start converting metals to gold and, also wanted to find a chemical that enabled longer life and a cure for all ailments. At the end of the 17th century, the early form of chemistry was on the verge of being destroyed because some disapproved of Aristotle’s four- elements theory.

The next era is the end of the 17th century- mid 19th century also known as “traditional chemistry”. In the 1700’s, Johann J. Beecher discovered a substance called phlogiston. When substances burn, phlogiston is supposedly added from the air to flame the object that’s burning. Charles Coulcomb the force of attraction or repulsion is proportional to the product of the two charges when given two particles separated by a certain distance. In 1774-1794, Joseph Priestley discovered a colorless gas he called “dephlogisticated air”, which is actually oxygen, by taking a calx of mercury and burning it. Antoine Lavoisier disapproved the Phlogiston Theory. He named the “dephlogisticated air” oxygen when he realized oxygen combines with substances as the burn. Lavoisier is now called the “Father of Modern Chemistry” because of his attributions. In 1803, John Dalton’s Atomic Theory states that all matter is composed of atoms, which he discovered are small and indivisible.

The last era is the mid 19th Century- 20th Century (Modern or Present day). In 1854, Heinrich Geissler creates the first vacuum tube. In 1879, William Crookes used the vacuum tube to discover cathode rays. Crookes’ glass vacuum tube had a zinc sulfide coating on the inside of one end and a metal cathode imbedded on the other end. When electricity runs through the apparatus, the zinc sulfide glows. Crookes hypothesized that the rays caused the zinc sulfide to fluoresce, which are called cathode rays. In 1885, Eugene Goldstein discovered positive...

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