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Word Count: 393
It was in the early 1800s that John Dalton an observer of weather and discoverer of color blindness among other things came up with his atomic theory Lets set the stage for Daltons work Less than twenty years earlier in the 1780s Lavoisier ushered in a new chemical era by making careful quantitative measurements which allowed the compositions of compounds to be determined with accuracy By 1799 enough data had been accumulated for Proust to establish the Law of Constant Composition also called the Law of Definite Proportions In 1803 Dalton noted that oxygen and carbon combined to make two compounds Of course each had its own particular weight ratio of oxygen to carbon 1331 and 2661 but also for the same amount of carbon one had exactly twice as much oxygen as the other This led him to propose the Law of Simple Multiple Proportions which was later verified by the Swedish chemist Berzelius In an attempt to explain how and why elements would combine with one another in fixed ratios and sometimes also in multiples of those ratios Dalton formulated his atomic theory The idea of atoms had been proposed much earlier The ancient Greek philosophers had talked about atoms but Daltons theory was different in that it had the weight of careful chemical measurements behind it It wasnt just a philosophical statement that there are atoms because there must be atoms His atomic theory stated that elements consisted of tiny particles called atoms He said that the reason an element is pure is because all atoms of an element were identical and that in particular they had the same mass He also said that the reason elements differed from one another was that atoms of each element were different from one another in particular they had different masses He also said that compounds consisted of atoms of different elements combined together Compounds are pure substances remember they cannot be separated into
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