Questions tagged [chemistry]

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

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11
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5answers
489 views

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 ...
13
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4answers
392 views

Scientific progress claimed to be caused by dreaming

Kekulé, who discovered the chemical formula for benzene in 1865, claimed that he had guessed the ring formula with the alternating single and double bonds in a day-dream. Are there similar examples of ...
5
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1answer
569 views

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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1answer
39 views

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 ...
6
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0answers
112 views

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 ...
0
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0answers
34 views

How could “Law of Reciprocal Proportions” be formulated before “Law of Definite Proportions”?

"Law of Reciprocal Proportions" was formulated in 1792 by Jeremias Richter, and "Law of Definite Proportions" was formulate in 1794 by Joseph Proust. How is this possible? Isn't "Law of Definite ...
4
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2answers
271 views

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 ...
2
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0answers
93 views

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)...
2
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1answer
201 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
115 views

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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1answer
555 views

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 ...
5
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2answers
1k views

Why Saytzeff and Zaitsev Rules are named differently?

Saytzeff and Zaitsev rules are the same thing.Then why are they named differently?Some books favour to use Saytzeff while some prefer Zaitsev.Why are different names used for the same thing? Thanks ...
6
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3answers
110 views

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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0answers
56 views

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 ...
5
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1answer
92 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
131 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
45 views

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 ...
4
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1answer
69 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
106 views

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....
2
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1answer
178 views

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 ...
3
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3answers
125 views

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 ...
7
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2answers
263 views

When were the abbreviations of chemical elements standardized?

This is going to be tricky because the discovery/synthesis of elements has taken place over centuries. It might be best to restrict this purely to the elements contained on Dmitri Mendeleyev's table, ...
7
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2answers
187 views

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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0answers
35 views

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 ...
3
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2answers
963 views

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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2answers
208 views

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 ...
21
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2answers
1k views

To what degree did ancient Egyptians use Cement Chemistry

From a young age I have been taught that the stones used to create the great pyramids were mined. Concrete and cements were largely invented by the Romans/Greeks especially for use as mortar. More ...
6
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1answer
241 views

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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2answers
1k views

Was Thomson's model of Plum Pudding widely accepted as a model of atom?

Was this model widely accepted in the time as a model for the atom? or was it just a model between many alternatives?
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0answers
52 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
692 views

What ever happened to the methylphenidate synthesiser and his family?

Leandro Panizzon 1 2 3 synthesised methylphenidate or something like that back in 1944. Ritalin is named after his wife Rita. He doesn't seem to have a Wikipedia page or anything. What happened to ...
2
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0answers
73 views

What is the difference between chemico-chemists and physico-chemists according to Van't Hoff?

“Whereas the chemico-chemists always find in industry a beautiful field of gold-laden soil, the physico-chemists stand somewhat farther off, especially those who seek only the greatest dilution, for ...
2
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0answers
107 views

How did the theories of Lavoisier, Davy, Arrhenius then Bronsted & Lowry come about?

What scientific experimentations, methods of thinking, ideas and so forth necessitate each individual definition of their acids / bases?
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83 views

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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1answer
541 views

Different sign conventions in thermodynamics different for physics and chemistry

Why are the sign conventions of work done in thermodynamics different for physics and chemistry?
2
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1answer
129 views

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 ...
3
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2answers
122 views

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",...
6
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1answer
701 views

What is the origin of “ortho-,” “meta-,” “para-,” in chemistry?

The prefix "ortho-" means straight or right; "meta-" means beyond or after; "para-" means beside or along. How, then, did ortho-, meta- and para- come to refer to the carbon positions one, two, and ...
5
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1answer
602 views

How did chemists figure out atomic weights, when hydrogen, etc., were first discovered?

Henry Cavendish isolated hydrogen in 1766, but I want to know if he knew the gas was actually $H_2$ instead of just a plain $H$ gas. This would make a major difference in the atomic weights, which ...
5
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0answers
138 views

How could John Dalton hypothesised his atomic theory based on his experimental observations?

The key of this question is not simply stating the content of his theory, but telling what results or principles he had at that time and how could they lead to the theory. He was as such the first ...
4
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1answer
74 views

Who is Hræðraford, the “learned clerk” “writing in modern chemical Latin”?

Truesdell, C. Rational Thermodynamics. New York, NY: Springer New York, 1984. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4612-5206-1, p. 41 says: … in the numerous papers and books whose titles and topics ...
0
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1answer
171 views

Who did create the notions of acid, base, and salt first?

Who did create the notions of acid, base, and salt first? Many chemists had mentioned these 3 terms before Svante Arrhenius defined them in 1884. For example, Antoine Lavoisier mentioned the notions ...
5
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1answer
325 views

Modern usage of alchemical symbols

As far as I know, not many (if any) alchemical symbols have survived in modern nomenclature of science, either in chemistry or any other. I think $\LaTeX$ doesn't even support most of them! I know ...
5
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2answers
1k views

How was the composition and structure of water determined?

Water is a pretty basic molecule that people used since early science. What were the steps in figuring out what water is made of and what is its structure?
13
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2answers
870 views

Did anybody question the indivisibility of the atom because there were “too many” elements?

The realisation that the atom was divisible, and thus that elements were not the "fundamental building blocks" arguably began around 1897 with J. J. Thomson's discovery of the electron and proceeded ...
9
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1answer
736 views

Dmitri Mendeleev's Periodic Table

Dmitri Mendeleev arranged his first periodic table according to the number of protons and valency electrons. How did he, and others of his age, know of these subatomic particles and electron shell ...
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2answers
3k views

Did Alfred Nobel collect his wealth by selling dynamite?

At the start of my chemistry course, my professor told a story: He said that Alfred Nobel invented dynamite (which is true) and he accumulated his wealth by selling it to both parties A and B (...
7
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1answer
209 views

History of Coagulation of Milk by Short Waves

In 1968 NASA, through the assistance of the Israel Program for Scientific Translation, translated from Russian the 1964 book "The Earth in the Universe", with chapters written by top Soviet scientists....
26
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1answer
348 views

Contributions to chemistry from medieval Arabia

A lot of chemical terms such as alcohol, aldehyde, sugar/azucar, amalgam etc. are of Arabic origin. Did Arabic chemistry in medieval times achieve any scientific insights still valid today (such as '...
5
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1answer
446 views

Were there alternative names for electron orbitals?

Electrons orbits are referred to as s, p, d, and f, then alphabetically. These stand for sharp, principal, diffuse and fundamental respectively (or maybe the German translations). Was any other ...