Questions tagged [chemistry]

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

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5
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1answer
690 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
323 views

What is the historical reasoning for electron orbital names?

Electron orbitals are referred to as s, p, d and f. I have read that there was a Latinate basis for this, but never found anything more specific. (Obviously, the discovery of electron orbitals by Bohr ...
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?
30
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4answers
2k views

What new mathematics was inspired by biology and chemistry?

While physics and astronomy sported mathematical models for centuries mathematical chemistry and biology appeared relatively recently. Most of the interaction seems to go one way, established ...
13
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2answers
921 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 ...
13
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4answers
422 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 ...
7
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2answers
192 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, ...
6
votes
1answer
262 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
308 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 ...