A History of Science
Tome I
Tome II
Tome III Tome IV

Book 4, chapter II
The beginnings of modern chemistry
Modern chemistry may be said to have its beginning with the work of Stephen Hales (1677-1761), who early in the eighteenth century began his important study of the elasticity of air. Departing from the point of view of most of the scientists of the time, be considered air to be "a fine elastic fluid, with particles of very different nature floating in it" ; and he showed that these "particles" could be separated. He pointed out, also, that various gases, or "airs," as he called them, were contained in many solid substances. The importance of his work, however, lies in the fact that his general studies were along lines leading away from the accepted doctrines of the time, and that they gave the impetus to the investigation of the properties of gases by such chemists as Black, Priestley, Cavendish, and Lavoisier, whose specific discoveries are the foundation-stones of modern chemistry.




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© Serge Jodra, 2006. - Reproduction interdite.