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Dalton John 1766-1844 British chemist and physicist who developed the atomic theory upon which modern physical science is founded Dalton was born on September 6 1766 in Eaglesfield Cumberland County England He was the son of a weaver and received his early education from his father and at a Quaker school in his native town where he began teaching at the age of 12 In 1781 he moved to Kendal where he conducted a school with his cousin and his elder brother He went to Manchester in 1793 and spent the rest of his life there as a teacher first at New College and later as a private tutor He died in Manchester on July 27 1844Dalton began a series of meteorological observations in 1787 that he continued for 57 years accumulating some 200000 observations and measurements on the weather in the Manchester area Daltons interest in meteorology led him to study a variety of phenomena as well as the instruments used to measure them He was the first to prove the validity of the concept that rain is precipitated by a decrease in temperature not by a change in atmospheric pressureDaltons first work Meteorological Observations and Essays 1793 attracted little attention however In the following year he presented a paper on color blindness a condition from which Dalton himself suffered before the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society This paper was the earliest description of this phenomenon of vision which became known as DaltonismDaltons most important contribution to science was his theory that matter is composed of atoms of differing weights and combine in simple ratios by weight This theory which Dalton first advanced in 1803 is the cornerstone of modern physical science see Atom Chemistry Physics In 1808 Daltons A New System of Chemical Philosophy was published In this book he listed the atomic weights of a number of known elements relative to the weight of hydrogen His weights were not entirely accurate but
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