The Development Of The Atomic Theory Essay

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The Development Of The Atomic Theory Essay, Research Paper The Greek concept of atomos: the atom Around 440 BC leucippus of Miletus originated the atom concept. He and his pupil, Democritus of abdera refined it for future use. Their atomic idea has five major points. All original writings of leucippus and Democritus are lost. The only sources we have for there atomistic ideas are inquotations from other writers. Democritus was known as the “laughing philosopher” because he enjoyed life so much. At this time Greek philosophy was about 150 years old, emerging in the sixth century bc, centered in the city of miletus on the ionian coast in Asia minor, which is now turkey. The work of leucippus and Democritus was further developed by epicures (341-270 BC) of Samos. He made

ideas more generally known. Aristotle also quotes both of them in arguing against their ideas. Most of what we know about leucippus and Democritus was found in a poem entitled “de rerum natura” (on the nature of things) written by Lucretius (95-55 BC). This poem was lost for over a thousand years and was discovered in 1417. These are the basic points of their theory. #1 – all matter is composed of atoms, which are bits of matter to small to be seen. These cannot be split any smaller. ” The atomists hold that splitting stops when it reaches indivisible particles and goes on no more” Which means there is a limit to division of matter that we cannot go. Atoms are very hard so they cannot be divided. In Greek “a” means not and “tomos” means cut. So our word comes

from atomos, meaning uncuttable. He reasoned that if matter could be infinitely divided, it could also completely disintegrate and cannot be put back together, however matter can regenerate. Even though matter can be destroyed by splitting, new things can be made by joining other matter together. This process is reversible. The idea of reversibility means there must be a limit to splitting. If it could be split forever, there is nothing to stop it from destroying itself. Epicures insisted on an upper limit also, that atoms are always invisible, it seems obvious; all matter that can be seen is still divisible, so they can’t be atoms. #2- there is an empty space between atoms. ” Unless there is a void with a separate being of its own ‘what is’ cannot be moved-nor again can

it be ‘many’ since there is nothing to keep things apart.” So there is an empty space between atoms, or a vacuum. Given that all matter is composed of atoms, then all changes must be a result of movement of atoms. So the movement within the atoms is allowed by a space so atoms can move from place to place. #3- atoms are completely solid. If there is a space outside there cannot be a space inside, which would cause to disintegrate. But we knowthis is wrong, in 1919 Ernest Rutherford discovered the nucleus, demonstrating that there is an empty space. #4- atoms are homogeneous (no internal structure) The solidarity of atoms means that atoms are the same all over, or has no internal structure. There was speculation about sub-atomic structure in the 1800’s introduced it on

solid scientific basis, not until 1897, J.J. Thomson’s discovery of the electron that it had internal structure. #5- atoms are different in? 1- there size. 2- their shapes. ” Democritus and leuccippus say thatthere are indivisible bodies, infinite number and shape” Aristotle ” They have all sorts of shapes and appearances and sizes” Democritus Aristotle and others opposed almost all of the ideas of the atom, so most of the information was lost. There is a pattern of atomic thought but only a few scholars gave it real thought. It wasn’t until 1803 that john Dalton (1766-1844) a schoolteacher put the atom on a solid scientific base. Dalton’s gift for analyzing data allowed him to recognize the connection between atomic weight and weight relations in chemical gases. He