About this Book

Modern Chemistry Lavoisier’s results and Atomic Theory provided chemists their first in depth understanding related to the nature of chemical reactions. Another cornerstone which dealt with the inherent property of all matter came a few years later in the form of atomic theory advanced in 1805 by an English schoolteacher, John Dalton. This theory puts forward the theory that matter constitutes of small particles which are named atoms and that chemical changes take place between atoms or groups of atoms. Finally, being equipped with in depth views about the nature of matter and of chemical reactions, chemistry began making rapid strides.

Very soon one after the other the gas laws of Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac and that of Joseph Louis Proust’s law of definite proportions came into being. In this period too came the hypothesis of Amedeo Avogadro, an Italian chemist, about the number of molecules in a volume of gas. To Dalton’s theory that the atoms of a single element have the same weight, Avogadro, in 1811, added the idea that one quart (or other volume) of a gas has the number of molecules which are exactly same as that of any other gas with an equal volume if both are allowed to rest at the same temperature and pressure.

His calculations also showed that if the gas is an element, such as hydrogen or oxygen, the atoms usually unite in pairs to form molecules (written H2, O2, and so on). The scientists knew, however, that equal volumes of different gases have unequal weights. Avogadro’s hypothesis implied that this showed relative weights of single atoms. This has been proved to be correct, and today Avogadro’s law may be stated thus: equal volumes of all gases under the same conditions of temperature and pressure contain the same number of molecules. Humphry Davy, about 1806, isolated a number of elements to add to the growing list.

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