Chapter I - ATOM

Thales of Miletus, the Ionian Greek (ca. 585 BCE) is often credited as being earth's first scientist.  He espoused a theory that  liquid, solid and gas (water, fire and air)  are the three states of matter.  Later on (approximately 100 years later) Anaxagoros believed that all bodies were made up of atoms in various combinations.  He believed that atoms were extremely small, indivisible, and that they were free to wander from their eternal past into the present and beyond.  He believed that all matter was originally made up of these atoms.  From him and his students came the familiar Greek system (water, fire, earth, air) which stated that the universe was composed of these 4 elements.   These smallest indivisible parts of the universe made up the transitory matter that in the end is what we see.  Anaxagoros was imprisoned for believing such "unspeakable things" (in those days) as the moon might be made of rock, similar to the earth, and that the sun was probably just a very hot rock.  Later students, Leucippus, Democritus and Epicurus advanced these theories with Democritus often credited with articulating the first Atomic Theory model and Epicurus stating that matter is comprised of colliding atoms and molecules.

Although these early philosophers did well with their love of knowledge, their theories were not widely accepted until some 2000 years later when modern scientific thought began to develop.  The Renaissance brought a revived interest in the works of the Greek Ancients.   Let's jump most notably to the end of the 1500's when the Renaissance had just ended.  It is at this point in time that knowledge began to explode -- it was disseminated to more people with greater quantities of information being expressed in print.  The 17th and 18th centuries set the framework for one of the first really scientific chemists, Robert Boyle. " In a book called 'The Sceptical Chymist' he rejected the elements of the iatrochemists and started the list of elements which are recognized today. His name is also associated with a law concerning the volume and pressure of gases. In 1661, he helped found a scientific society which later became the Royal Society of England."   In 1785, Charles Augustin Coulomb developed the fundamental law of electric force between two stationary charged particles.  Experiment bears out that this electric force has the following properties:

1.  charge (q) has an inverse proportional relationship to the square of the distance (r).
2. seen as point charges (or extremely small spheres) yields the following geometry:
a) A = 4 p r 2 (surface area of a sphere)
b) q = ne (in which the elementary charge, e , has the value 
    q = 1.60 x 10-19C
    [Coulombs] and n takes discrete numbers n = 1, 2, 3, 4...)
c) q1 q2 = qtotal (total charge )
d) e0 =  8.85418782 x 10-12 C2/N m2  (permittivity of free space
    derived from):

equation 1.1.1


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