Robert Boyle (1627-1691) is known as “The Father of Chemistry” for his discovery that atoms must exist based on the relationship between pressure and volume of gas. His theorem called Boyle’s Law reasons that because a fixed mass of gas can be compressed, gas must be made of particles, or atoms, because there is space between them. Boyle’s discoveries helped bring chemistry into the modern age.Continue Reading
Robert Boyle was born in County Waterford, Ireland and studied at Eton College and Oxford University in England. While at Oxford, he carried out numerous experiments with Robert Hooke and other “natural philosophers,” as scientists were often called during his time. He then moved to London, where he began publishing his discoveries. The law he is most famous for was published in a text entitled “The Spring of the Air.” Boyle proposed that “the volume of a fixed mass of gas at a constant temperature is inversely proportional to the gas’s pressure.” Though his atomic theory did not get further than proposing that atoms must exist, it was still an essential building block in the overall history of atomic theory.
Boyle’s discoveries were important, but his methods also had a share in ushering in a new age of scientific exploration. Boyle made a sharp distinction between the mysticism of alchemical experimentation that was popular at the time and the fact-based evidence gleaned from his chemical experiments.Learn more about Atoms & Molecules
Aristotle's contribution to the understanding of atoms was to help dispel the commonly held belief of his time that the indivisible building blocks of matter were uniform in nature and had no unique or characteristic properties. He argued that the atoms of a specific substance must instead maintain the unique properties of that substance rather than all atoms remaining similar in nature. Aristotle also noted that some substances appeared to be pure and that others were formed from the combinations of these pure substances, an observation which led to the understanding that elements could be combined to form compounds with new and unique properties.Full Answer >
Robert Millikan contributed to atomic theory by measuring the charge on an electron. He accomplished this by pulling the electrical charge out of a water or oil molecule and measuring it.Full Answer >
Dalton's atomic theory states four critical truths about atoms: firstly, everything is made up of atoms and atoms cannot be destroyed. Secondly, all atoms within a single element are identical. Thirdly, compounds are formed from two or more different kinds of atoms. Finally, chemical reactions rearrange atoms.Full Answer >
The atomic theory formulated by the British chemist John Dalton proposes that atoms are indivisible particles comprising all matter; atoms of the same element share identical properties, including shape, size and mass; atoms of an element are unique and vary from the atoms of different elements; atoms are the fundamental units of a chemical reaction; atoms are conserved and can neither be created nor destroyed; and atoms combine in simple, fixed proportions to produce compound atoms, known as molecules. Dalton is commonly referred to as the father of the modern atomic theory.Full Answer >