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Development of the Modern Atomic Theory The modern atomic theory we have today came from contributions of many different scientists Democritus Dalton Thompson Millikan and Rutherford all had their specific contributions to the development of the Atomic theory we have come to know today Democritus for example developed and named the building blocks of matter atomos meaning literally indivisible about 430 BC Democritus believed that atoms were uniform solid hard incompressible and indestructible and that they moved in infinite numbers through empty space until stopped Differences in atomic shape and size determined the various properties of matter In Democritus philosophy atoms existed not only for matter but also for such qualities as perception and the human soul For example sourness was caused by needle-shaped atoms while the colour white was composed of smooth-surfaced atoms The atoms of the soul were considered to be particularly fine Democritus developed his atomic philosophy as a middle ground between two opposing Greek theories about reality and the illusion of change He argued that matter was subdivided into indivisible and immutable particles that created the appearance of change when they joined and separated from others The British chemist and physicist John Dalton extended former chemists work and converted the atomic philosophy of the Greeks into a scientific theory between 1803 and 1808 His book New System of Chemical Philosophy part I 1808 part II 1810 was the first application of atomic theory to chemistry It provided a physical picture of how elements combine to form compounds and a phenomenological reason for believing that atoms exist His work together with that of Joseph-Louis Gay-Lussac of France and Amedeo Avogadro of Italy provided the experimental foundation of atomic chemistry On the basis of the law of definite proportions Dalton deduced the law of multiple proportions which stated that when two elements form more than one compound by combining in more than one proportion by weight the weight of one
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