• History of Chemistry

Essays and Papers Relating to the History of Chemistry - Part II

More papers on the history of chemistry. Click on one of the titles below to read an essay on the history of chemistry or to be directed to the text of an original paper in the history of chemistry.

Some of the following links are to papers or web sites compiled by Carmen Giunta in the Department of Chemistry at LeMoyne College.

These are PDF files and require Acrobat Reader

Atomic Theory and Atomic Structure

John Dalton presented a series of papers to the Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester on heat and elastic fluids in 1802. These papers led to his "Laws" on "heat, and to chemical combinations" in 1803, and eventually complied to his book A New System of Chemical Philosophy in 1808. The sum of his papers outline his atomic theory.

John Dalton's 1803 paper " On the Absorption of Gases by Water and Other Liquids" includes his first investigation of the "relative weights of the ultimate particles of bodies" (the basis of atomic weights)

John Dalton, excerpts from A New System of Chemistry containing his atomic hypothesis as well as his (incorrect) hypothesis that the simplest compound containing two elements contains atoms in a one-to-one ratio. Also includes a figure representing his symbols of various simple and compound atoms. This figure is also included in Element Symbols

Amedeo Avogadro, "Essay on a Manner of Determining the Relative Masses of the Elementary Molecules of Bodies, and the Proportions in Which They Enter into These Compounds" (1811) which contains "Avogadro's hypothesis" that equal volumes of gas contain equal numbers of molecules.

Jöns Jacob Berzelius, Essay on the Cause of Chemical Proportions, and on Some Circumstances Relating to Them: Together with a Short and Easy Method of Expressing Them (1813)

Marie Curie and The Science of Radioactivity. This is a link to the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics (AIP) online exhibit of the story of Marie Curie.

The Discovery of the Electron. This is a link to the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics (AIP) online exhibit of J. J. Thomson's work on the discovery of the electron.

Werner Heisenberg and Uncertainty. This is a link to the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics (AIP) online exhibit of the life of Werner Heisenberg and his work in quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principle.

Nulcear Chemistry and The Atomic Bomb

Albert Einstein's Letters to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Leo Szilard, a Hungarian physicist who left Germany after Hitler's rise to Power, feared that Germany's nuclear scientist might be able to make a "nuclear Bomb". He had Albert Einstein sign a letter to President Roosevelt which explained the possibility of a nuclear bomb and urged that the United States not allow a potential enemy to develop it first.

How Nuclear Bombs Work. This is a link to the howstuffworks web site.

The Story of the Atomic Bomb, 1934-1945, by James Richard Fromm. This is a link to the web site. This article is well illustrated with photos of most of the people involved.

Let's Make a Thermonuclear Device. In November 2001, British reporters searching through an abandoned "al-Qaida safe house" in Kabul, Afghanistan, found this document, and reported that they'd stumbled upon the terrorists' nuclear intentions. This information was published in a Nov. 15 article in the Times of London. In the article, journalist Anthony Loyd wrote that next to "physics and chemistry manuals devoted to molecular matter," he discovered this document on how to make a thermonuclear device. Marc Abrahams, a former editor of the Journal of Irreproducible Results, where the article originally appeared, said "Either there's one guy in the Taliban who had a sense of humor, or everyone was downloading everything on the Net that had the word 'thermonuclear' in it."

This page is under construction. More articles will be added as they are completed.

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Photos and Presentations on the History of Chemistry and Science