Questions tagged [chemistry]

For questions about the study of chemical reactions, dynamics and related phenomena.

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What molecule's models might Linus Pauling be holding up in this photo? Perhaps something akin to pentagonal dodecahedrane, or could they be viruses?

The Chemistry SE question What dodecahedral molecule is Linus Pauling likely holding in this photograph? Does it have 40 carbon atoms? begins: The video Quasicrystals ; Prof. Daniel Shechtman ; Nobel ...
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Bohr's idea of 1, 2, 3 and 4 energy levels in which are 1, 2, 3 and 4 pairs of electrons

In his book VALENCE and The Structure of Atoms and Molecules Gilbert Newton Lewis wrote We may next consider a very recent idea advanced by Bohr (1921), which is not based so much upon deductions ...
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Element classification by Döbereiner and Newland (law of octaves)

I have been recently studying periodic classification. I am having some confusion regarding old periodic classification. Newland's law of octaves In that you can see, in the 4th horizontal line, ...
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Were Michael Sendivogius findings in Chemistry considered by him to be Alchemy?

According to Michael Sendivogius Michael Sendivogius (/ˌsɛndɪˈvoʊdʒiəs/; Polish: Michał Sędziwój; 2 February 1566 – 1636) was a Polish alchemist, philosopher, and medical doctor. A pioneer of ...
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Did the medieval Islamic scholar al-Tusi state the principle of conservation of mass?

This article: Farid Alakbarli, A 13th-Century Darwin? Tusi's Views on Evolution, Azerbaijan International (2001) claims that Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (13th century) stated an early version of the law of ...
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History of word gram-atom / gram-molecule?

The terms "gram-atom / gram-molecule" are obsolete nowadays in chemistry and got replaced by the concept of "mole/ Avogadro Number". But recently, I encountered a question that can ...
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What rule or rules did Madelung discover, exactly?

There are two widely used rules of thumb to determine which subshells are filled in a neutral atom in its ground state: Electrons are assigned to subshells in order of increasing value of $n + \ell$. ...
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Why didn't Boyle made a correlation between V and T of a gas (and similarly between P and T)?

I was just reading about The Gas Laws of Boyle, Charles and Avogadro from a general college book Chemistry (7th edition, Zumdahl&Zumdahl). Boyle was the one who discovered a correlation between ...
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What books did Lavoisier read?

I am interested in Antoine Lavoisier's intellectual formation/background. Is there any available list of the books which Antoine Lavoisier read, especially ones on science/mathematics/philosophy (even ...
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What is the evidence for the existence of Geber?

In an unrelated question, some users started arguing about the existence of Geber (Jabir ibn Hayyan - جابر بن حيّان) from 806−816 AD and pseudo-Geber (probably from 13th-14th century). This ...
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When was mercury given its name?

The Wikipedia page for mercury says that it was named after the Roman god because of his speed and mobility. When did the name mercury start to be used to designate the metal?
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Books on history of biochemistry

I am looking for books on the history of biochemistry. Searching online there are some short articles that can be found, which just mention a few highlights, but I haven't really found more ...
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Did tobacco smoke confound the results of an experiment by entering a reaction with the subject of study?

I dimly remember watching a popular sciencie movie that mentioned an experiment conducted by a pair of great physisicists (Einstein was one of them, unless my memory is playing tricks on me) that had ...
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How did Meyer know atomic volumes to plot them just before Mendeleev's periodic table?

Back to 1868, Mendeleev's periodic table has not been published yet, but we are quite there. As a scientist, you're still struggling to identify very clearly these elements with limited means. ...
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How is it possible that Pierre and Marie Curie's daughter Ève was so healthy?

I know that problems caused by radiation are pretty much random and unexpected at low levels of exposition but this randomness begins to be more probable when the exposition grows and this makes me ...
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How did Faraday determine the Faraday's constant?

Here is the reference. I'm wondering how he experimentally proceeded to derive the fact the if we pass 96485 Coulombs through a solution, then 1 gram equivalent of substance is electrolyzed.
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When was nicotine identified as an addictive substance?

I was watching a TV series (Godless) which is set in the Wild West in 1884. At some point they sing Don't forget the girls of LaBelle, which includes the following verses: The Creole girl is a one-...
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Did C.S Peirce make any noteworthy contributions to physics or chemistry?

According to this article Peirce was the first to experimentally tie a unit, the meter, to an absolute standard, the wavelength of a spectral line Did C.S Peirce make any other noteworthy ...
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Fritz Haber and nitrogen fixing: Was there a movement to increase the population?

I read a dramatic statistic something like 3 out of 5 living humans owe their existence to food that could be grown due to Haber's work. But was there a time when anyone said, we need to be able to ...
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Was the wide use of mercury in experiments in the 19th century related to alchemy?

We know that Newton's hair samples showed high level of mercury and of course he used mercury like crazy in his alchemy experiments (as did many/all alchemists not just in the west but also China) and ...
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Was Joseph Priestley "isolated"

Joseph Priestley is often said to have discovered Oxygen, or not due to calling it Dephlogisticated air - depending on one's preference. However, regardless of this, it is often said in popular ...
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Who was the first to weigh chemical reaction products?

It is said that Lavoisier and Lomonosov both discovered that the cumulated mass of reactants is conserved. My question is simple: who (and when) started weighing chemical products before and after ...
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When did stoichiometry begin to be taught in U.S. high schools?

Stoichiometry, "the quantitative relationship between two or more substances especially in processes involving physical or chemical change" (Merriam-Webster), is currently a major part of the U.S. ...
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Hydrogen electrode and its electrode potential

In electrochemistry, all electrode potentials are quoted with reference to the standard hydrogen electrode. Its value is assigned to be 0 volts. I have been searching for the origin of this convention ...
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Looking for references to an experiment on the evaporation rate of water in sunlight

I remember reading a long time ago about some experiments measuring evaporation rate of water in large open containers (tubs) sitting on open ground. It was a simple experiment, each day the water ...
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How did early physicists experimentally assign electronic transitions in atoms?

The spectrum of hydrogen was very well studied by the mid-19th century. However, if one were doing experimental spectroscopy for more complex atoms, one would see plenty of spectral lines in the ...
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Is it a historical coincidence that relative atomic weights by chemical methods and mass spectrometry are very close?

The concept of relative atomic weight originated from measuring the combining weight of hydrogen with a certain element. In the simplification process H was taken as unity (18th, 19th and 20th century)...
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How did the early chemists determine the atomic weight of hydrogen?

In early history, the relative atomic weight of hydrogen was assigned as 1 (exactly) and all other elements were compared against hydrogen. What is difficult to find who determined the absolute atomic ...
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How did the early chemists make a connection between gram formula weight with 1 mole and Avogadro's number?

According to one historian Mustafa Sarikaya's article in Foundations of Chemistry DOI 10.1007/s10698-011-9128-7, the mole concept was introduced to chemistry earlier than Avogadro’s number. The mole ...
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Was the value of the mole invented or discovered in chemistry?

For example, $\pi$ is not an invention, it is a discovery which was natural, that is ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. But when we define a meter it is not a natural value it is ...
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Origins of molecular orbital diagrams?

Does anyone remember who proposed molecular diagrams for simple molecules as taught today in most general chemistry texts? I cannot access Hund's original article, however, Mulliken's early articles ...
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In the old days, how did chemists trap and measure gases?

The old days being roughly 1600 - 1850, the time when chemistry and the nature of the elements was being investigated empirically. For example, hydrogen gas was discovered by Robert Boyle in 1671 ...
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What inspired Nicholson to break water into hydrogen and oxygen with electricity?

It seems a bit of a stretch to go from a battery to electrolysis but this fellow appears to have thought of it only a few weeks after Volta invented the "pile" battery. I am wondering if he knew ...
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What were the early uses of differential equations for modeling chemical reactions?

What are some of the original examples of uses of differential equations for modeling and analyzing chemical reactions, particularly those relevant to biochemistry, involving proteins and enzymes? ...
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What was Pauling's claim about vitamin C?

As I understand it after winning two (un-shared) Nobel prizes Linus Pauling began work which eventually had him recommending large amounts of vitamin C to all and sundry. When another scientist was ...
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Are there any records of the history for the development of speculum alloy?

I am curious if anyone has seen any records on how this alloy was first developed or perhaps accidentally discovered? One could ask a similar question for any alloy but since this is peculiar in ...
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When did people first become concerned about mercury in fish?

I can't find any information about the history of mercury in fish as a public health concern. When was it first recognized that fish contain higher levels of mercury than land animals? How long have ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Was carbon dioxide also called carbonic acid historically?

I am reading the classic paper by Thomas Andrews, in which he discovered the critical point. The gas he used in his experiments is called by him 'carbonic acid'. By its critical temperature being 31....
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Has science fiction ever caused scientists to do real research?

Has science fiction ever caused scientists to do real research? Science fiction here means fiction that tries to explain things in the world rather than speculate about the future or unexplorable ...
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Earliest known usage of letter gamma "Γ" for reducible representation in group theory

Does any know the earliest known usage of the Greek letter gamma for showing a reducible representation of a group? This symbolism is commonly used in character tables in chemical applications of ...
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What is the first instance in which Mendeleev published a long-form table as compared with his 8-column table of 1869?

Mendeleev is famous for having published his first periodic table in 1869. This was a short-form or 8-column table. He also published a number of 18 column periodic tables. I am asking for ...
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5 votes
3 answers
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Looking for books on the history of chemistry?

I'm looking for good books on history of chemistry and chemical methodology. There appear to be surprisingly few available on the market based on my own 'research' (just googling and phrase-searching ...
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6 votes
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Before the discovery of the neutron, how did scientists explain standard atomic weights?

The neutron was predicted in 1920 and discovered 12 years later. Before this time, how did scientists explain standard atomic weights? For example, Lithium has a standard atomic weight of about 6.9 ...
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How common were death and mutilation among chemists 1750-1950?

Several famous chemists were blown up, poisoned, blinded, mutilated or got lethally sick by radiation. Are these isolated anecdotes or was researching chemistry a truly dangerous job during the period ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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Why is Mendeleev credited with the discovery of the periodic table much more often than Meyer?

The question "Why do we learn little about Mendeleev when compared to other science figures?" let me ask: Why do we learn next to nothing about Julius Lothar Meyer (1830-1895) who in parallel to ...
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7 votes
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Why do we learn little about Mendeleev when compared to other science figures?

This is not a question about chemistry as a science, but as a school discipline. Why is it that Mendeleev as a person is barely mentioned in chemistry courses compared to all the others, like Coulomb, ...
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How has it been discovered that water consists of acid and base?

The chemical composition of water was discovered about 1784, but when has it been discovered that it is also composed of acid and base?
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2 votes
1 answer
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Why not proton volt instead of $eV$?

Why is eV used instead of proton V even if they would give the same value? I have this view: from electrochemistry's Faraday's law, scientists first calculated the charge of an electron. Then, they ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Most known teachers of specific branch of Science

After acquainting myself with the works of Richard Feynman in Physics: " The Feynman Lectures on Physics" and partially with the works of Donald Knuth in Programming: "The Art of Computer Programming",...
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What is the etymology of lower case p as the operator for the negative of the common logarithm?

In high school we were taught that the formula for pH is the negative of the common logarithm of hydrogen ion concentration: pH = -log[H+]. It wasn't until I took organic chemistry that the "acid ...
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