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Daltons Atomic Theory John Dalton developed the first useful atomic theory of matter around 1803 In the course of his studies on meteorology Dalton concluded that evaporated water exists in air as an independent gas Solid bodies cant occupy the same space at the same time but water and air could If the water and air were made of discrete particles evaporation might be viewed as a mixing of water particles with air particles He performed a series of experiments on mixtures of gases to determine what effect properties of the individual gases had on the properties of the mixture as a whole While trying to explain the results of those experiments Dalton developed the hypothesis that the sizes of the particles making up different gases must be different Daltons exceptional gift for recognizing and interpreting patterns in experimental data lead him from a problem in meteorology to the idea of atoms as fundamental constituents of matter He realized the vital theoretical connection between atomic weights and weight relations in chemical reactions He was the first to associate the ancient idea of atoms with stoichiometry The existence of atoms was first suggested more that 2000 years before Daltons birth Newtons speculations about atoms in the Principia were carefully copied by hand into Daltons notebooks Atoms of an element cannot be created destroyed broken into smaller parts or transformed into atoms of another element Dalton based this hypothesis on the law of conservation of mass and on centuries of experimental evidence Some of the details of Daltons original atomic theory are now known to be incorrect But the core concepts of the theory that chemical reactions can be explained by the union and separation of atoms and that these atoms have characteristic properties are foundations of modern physical science Most of Daltons ideas have changed in the scientific world by 1 Many of his conclusions were concluded to be incorrect
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