September 30, 2020
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Timeline of Chemistry
FTC Da Movement
⟶ Updated 9 Nov 2018 ⟶
List of edits
Egyptians formulate the theory of the Ogdoad, or the "primordial forces", from which all was formed. These were the elements of chaos, numbered in eight, that existed before the creation of the sun.
Tapputi-Belatikallim, a perfume-maker and early chemist, was mentioned in a cuneiform tablet in Mesopotamia.
Empedocles asserts that all things are composed of four primal elements: earth, air, fire, and water, whereby two active and opposing forces, love and hate, or affinity and antipathy, act upon these elements, combining and separating them into infinitely varied forms.
Leucippus and Democritus propose the idea of the atom, an indivisible particle that all matter is made of. This idea is largely rejected by natural philosophers in favor of the Aristotlean view
Plato coins term ‘elements’ (stoicheia) and in his dialogue Timaeus, which includes a discussion of the composition of inorganic and organic bodies and is a rudimentary treatise on chemistry, assumes that the minute particle of each element had a special geometric shape: tetrahedron (fire), octahedron (air), icosahedron (water), and cube (earth).
Aristotle, expanding on Empedocles, proposes idea of a substance as a combination of matter and form. Describes theory of the Five Elements, fire, water, earth, air, and aether. This theory is largely accepted throughout the western world for over 1000 years.
Lucretius publishes De Rerum Natura, a poetic description of the ideas of atomism.
Zosimos of Panopolis writes some of the oldest known books on alchemy, which he defines as the study of the composition of waters, movement, growth, embodying and disembodying, drawing the spirits from bodies and bonding the spirits within bodies.
Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan (aka Geber), an Arab/Persian alchemist who is "considered by many to be the father of chemistry", develops an early experimental method for chemistry, and isolates numerous acids, including hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, citric acid, acetic acid, tartaric acid, and aqua regia.
Abū al-Rayhān al-Bīrūnī and Avicenna, both Persian chemists, refute the practice of alchemy and the theory of the transmutation of metals.
Magister Salernus of the School of Salerno makes the first references to the distillation of wine.
Robert Grosseteste publishes several Aristotelian commentaries where he lays out an early framework for the scientific method.
Tadeo Alderotti develops fractional distillation, which is much more effective than its predecessors.
St Albertus Magnus discovers arsenic and silver nitrate. He also made one of the first references to sulfuric acid.
Roger Bacon publishes Opus Maius, which among other things, proposes an early form of the scientific method, and contains results of his experiments with gunpowder.
Pseudo-Geber, an anonymous Spanish alchemist who wrote under the name of Geber, publishes several books that establish the long-held theory that all metals were composed of various proportions of sulfur and mercury. He is one of the first to describe nitric acid, aqua regia, and aqua fortis.
Paracelsus develops the study of iatrochemistry, a subdiscipline of alchemy dedicated to extending life, thus being the roots of the modern pharmaceutical industry. It is also claimed that he is the first to use the word "chemistry".
Andreas Libavius publishes Alchemia, a prototype chemistry textbook.
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