Greatest Discoveries in the Field of Chemistry

Pioneering discoveries that became turning points in the history of chemistry.

Oxygen (1770s)

British educator and philosopher Joseph Priestley (1733 – 1804) discovered oxygen in experiments, isolated the gas, and described its function in combustion and respiration. He also invented soda or carbonated water by dissolving fixed air with water. Unaware of the significance of his discoveries and because of his stubborn refusal to abandon the phlogiston theory, he named the new gas “dephlogisticated air.” However, it would be the French chemist Antoine Lavoisier (1743 – 1794) who gave the gas its present name, and was able to explain the nature of the element, accurately describing its role in combustion that totally discredit the phlogiston theory. In addition, Lavoisier collaborated with others to develop a systematic chemical nomenclature that facilitates dialogue among chemists and is still very much in use today.

Atomic Theory (1800s)

John Dalton (1766 – 1844), English chemist and physicist, proposed the atomic theory, which states that: a.) all elements are made up of tiny particles called atoms; b.) all atoms of an element are identical; c.) the atoms of dissimilar elements can be distinguished from one another by their corresponding relative weights; d.) atoms of an element can be combined with atoms of another elements to form chemical compounds; and e.) atoms cannot be created, broken down into smaller particles, nor destroyed in a chemical process. He also presented a way of associating invisible atoms with quantifiable amounts such as mass of a mineral or volume of a gas. Dalton’s theory has undergone modifications through the centuries, but it has as much significance for the future of the science as Lavoisier’s oxygen-based chemistry had been.

Molecules are Made Up of Atoms (1810s – )

At a time when the words “atom” and “molecule” were used interchangeably, Italian scientist Amedeo Avogadro (1776 – 1856) clarified that atoms combine to form molecules; and proposed his eponymous principle which asserts that “Equal volumes of ideal gases, at the same conditions of temperature and pressure, contain equal numbers of particles or molecules.”

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13 Responses to “Greatest Discoveries in the Field of Chemistry”
  1. Bozsi Rose Says...

    On September 19, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Good article! I always forget about plastics, but they have changed the world.


  2. BC Doan Says...

    On September 19, 2008 at 8:16 am

    This is packed with learning information, great article again!


  3. Unofre Pili Says...

    On September 19, 2008 at 8:59 am

    A very nice presentation of these classical scientific facts.


  4. nobert soloria bermosa Says...

    On September 19, 2008 at 9:15 am

    truly great and useful discoveries,thanks


  5. Juancav Says...

    On September 19, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Remarkable discoveries,investigations ,on the scientific areas.


  6. eunice tan Says...

    On September 19, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    Again, this piece is well composed. Kudos!
    While I was studying chemistry, I liked to learn history (of the discoveries and scientists) as well :)


  7. acecampillo Says...

    On September 19, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    These discoveries really changed the world. But then, every scientific discoveries will mean another additional scientific calculation which will be a burden to some students..haha I love inorganic but never organic chemistry.


  8. Melody Arcamo Lagrimas Says...

    On September 21, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    Significant history of chemistry in a nutshell – wonderful!
    reminds me of my college days…
    BTW, is the Bunsen burner named after chemist Robert Bunsen? :-) .


  9. swapna Says...

    On September 23, 2008 at 8:19 am

    really fantastic…..


  10. kevin Says...

    On February 19, 2009 at 2:54 am

    can you put an article about the latest discoviries in chemistry? the article is good but im seaching for an article about the latest discoveries in chemistry.


  11. Harvy Says...

    On June 17, 2010 at 5:36 am

    yah mehh tooo…..


  12. adicena Says...

    On September 4, 2010 at 3:13 am

    awesom discoveries!!hats off to scientists!!


  13. shocks Says...

    On June 12, 2011 at 2:23 am

    Wow that was a brief discovery!


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