Reference > Cambridge History > The Victorian Age, Part Two > The Literature of Science > Four main lines of advance in chemistry since the later years of the eighteenth century
  The study of material changes Priestley and Cavendish  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIV. The Victorian Age, Part Two.

VIII. The Literature of Science.

§ 17. Four main lines of advance in chemistry since the later years of the eighteenth century.


From the time of Lavoisier to our own day, chemistry has progressed, in the main, along four lines. For some years, chemists concentrated their attention on one definite class of material changes, the changes which happen when substances are burned in the air. The knowledge which was gained of the changes of composition and of properties during combustion incited and guided chemists to a searching examination of the distinctive properties of many different substances, and this examination brought about the clarifying of the conception of definite kinds of matter, and the application of this conception to the opening of many paths of chemical enquiry. While these advances were being made, a quiet member of the Society of Friends presented chemistry with a marvellously delicate and penetrative instrument for furthering accurate knowledge of material changes. John Dalton made what seemed a small addition to the Greek atomic theory, an addition which changed an interesting speculation into a scientific theory. As the century went on, chemists began to elucidate the connections between chemical events and physical phenomena. The science of physical chemistry began.   42

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  The study of material changes Priestley and Cavendish  
 
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