History of chemistry

The discovery of alloys had led to the “Bronze Age”, an age when weapons and armors became much superior in quality, because the blacksmiths had started to understand the concept of metallurgy by that time, especially in Egypt. History of chemistry dates back to the first time that man created fire but officially, the theory of “atomism” was a chemical idea that was documented for the first time in the book De Rerum Natura by Lucretius, but it originally came from Democritus and Leucippus, the Greek philosophers. Kanada, the Indian philosopher also gave the same idea through his “sutras.

Alchemy was the predecessor of chemistry and it gave rise to the concept of the “Philosopher’s Stone”, which could turn any metal into gold and also the “Elixir of Life”, capable of curing all diseases. None of the two was ever found, but people believed in them until as late as the 14th century, when at last, the theories of alchemy started being discarded. The Arabic Muslims played a big role, especially J?bir ibn Hayy?n, heralded as the ancient “Father of Chemistry”. This chemist in the 9th century approached chemistry in a scientific way inside a laboratory. The man was responsible for the invention of countless drugs and also the alembic. He also composed lapidaries and differentiated acid from alkali among many other feats. Other famous Arabic chemists of the time include Ja’far al-Sadiq, Ab? al-Rayh?n al-B?r?n?, Avicenna, al-Tusi and Rhazes to name a few.

Past the impeding European Middle Ages, chemists like Paracelsus put in an effort towards honest and scientific approach to alchemy, which came to be known as “iatrochemistry”. Although he rightly rejected the philosophical four element theory, he failed to achieve any real feats. “De re metallica” by Georg Agricola in 1556 was the book that laid the foundations for future chemists to learn and improve upon. Another book in 1605, written by Sir Francis Bacon, called “The Proficience and Advancement of Learning” helped the chemists to understand what a “scientific approach” is exactly. The first chemical equation in a book was found in “Tyrocinium Chymicum” by Jean Beguin, written in 1615, which was also the first chemistry “text book” ever. Following the discovery of the “Boyle’s law” and the book “The Skeptical Chymist” by Robert Boyle, came the true “Father of Modern Chemistry”, Antoine Lavoisier. In 1783, He rejected the phlogiston theory of combustion and in 1789; Lavoisier discovered the law of conservation of mass. In the same century, the Russian chemist Mikhail Lomonosov rejected the same and suggested the kinetic theory of gases. An accidental discovery by Friedrich W√∂hler in 1828 showed chemists ways that allowed them to synthesize organic compounds. The construction of the periodic table is credited to Dmitri Mendeleev and Lothar Meyer in 1870, which predicted the existence of yet undiscovered elements like gallium and scandium. With the ion theory, Arrhenius successfully used the atomic concepts in chemistry in the 20th century. Michael Faraday, famous for his principle of dynamo, was a major contributor in electrochemistry. 1912 marked the discovery of the atomic structure by Ernest Rutherford and Niels Bohr but it was Marie and Pierre Curie’s discovery of radioactivity that changed the entire viewpoint of chemistry altogether and forever.