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The History of Chemistry Essay

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Chemistry has been around for a very long time. Chemistry dates back to as far as the prehistoric times. If you put the amount of time chemistry takes up in a timeline, you would split it into four general categories. The four categories are: prehistoric times - beginning of the Christian era (black magic), beginning of the Christian era - end of 17th century (alchemy), end of 17th century - mid 19th century (traditional chemistry), and mid 19th century - present (modern chemistry).

It starts in the beginning of the Christian era (black magic). In 1700 BC, when known metals were first recorded and listed. In 430 BC, Democritus proclaimed the atom to be the simplest form of matter, which is composed of atoms. In 300 BC, Aristotle states that all matter is made up of fire, air, water, and earth.

The next era is also in the beginning of the Christian era, but at the end of the 17th Century, Alchemy. In 300 BC- 300 AD, Alchemists attempted to turn cheap metals into gold with the substance called the Philosopher’s Stone. In the 1200’s- 1400’s, transmutation of cheap metals to gold never happened within this time period. In 1520, Alchemists wanted to start converting metals to gold and, also wanted to find a chemical that enabled longer life and a cure for all ailments. At the end of the 17th century, the early form of chemistry was on the verge of being destroyed because some disapproved of Aristotle’s four- elements theory.

The next era is the end of the 17th century- mid 19th century also known as “traditional chemistry”. In the 1700’s, Johann J. Beecher discovered a substance called phlogiston. When substances burn, phlogiston is supposedly added from the air to flame the object that’s burning. Charles Coulcomb the ...


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... Curie and Frederic Joliot-Curie discovered that radioactive elements can be created artificially by the bombardment of alpha particles on certain elements. They were rewarded the 1935 Nobel Peace Prize. In the 1940’s, The Manhattan Project began. Albert Einstein and Enrico Fermi warned the United States about Germany’s extensive research on atomic fission reaction. The United States developed the very first working nuclear fission reactor below the football field at the University of Chicago. The Manhattan Project was officially in the process.

Chemistry has evolved a lot over the years. The history of chemistry shapes what it is today. Just about everything you touch, wear, or even eat is related or affected by chemistry some kind of way. In the future, I think chemistry will continue to evolve even more, and will eventually become a more diverse field.



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