History of chemistry  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

By 1000 BC, ancient civilizations used technologies that would eventually form the basis of the various branches of chemistry. Examples include extracting metals from ores, making pottery and glazes, fermenting beer and wine, making pigments for cosmetics and painting, extracting chemicals from plants for medicine and perfume, making cheese, dying cloth, tanning leather, rendering fat into soap, making glass, and making alloys like bronze.

Early attempts to explain the nature of matter and its transformations failed. The protoscience of chemistry, Alchemy, was also unsuccessful in explaining the nature of matter. However, by performing experiments and recording the results the alchemist set the stage for modern chemistry. This distinction begins to emerge when a clear differentiation was made between chemistry and alchemy by Robert Boyle in his work The Sceptical Chymist (1661). Chemistry then becomes a full-fledged science when Antoine Lavoisier develops his law of conservation of mass, which demands careful measurements and quantitative observations of chemical phenomena. So, while both alchemy and chemistry are concerned with the nature of matter and its transformations, it is only the chemists who apply the scientific method. The history of chemistry is intertwined with the history of thermodynamics, especially through the work of Willard Gibbs.

See also

Histories and timelines

Chemists

listed chronologically:




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "History of chemistry" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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