When did Chemistry Begin?

Chemistry is the science used to find out what things are made of and how they can be changed. It was actually the desire to make certain changes that was the beginning of chemistry. Modern chemistry grew out of a study called “alchemy”.

In the Middle Ages alchemists searched for a “philosopher’s stone” Which could change other metals into gold. They carried on many kinds of experiments in their work. One of the men to collect and organize all that was known about chemistry and science was Robert Boyle, who lived in the seventeenth century.

He knew that compounds can be broken up into parts. Other chemists followed Boyle and made new discoveries. Joseph Black studied gases and air. Henry Cavendish discovered hydrogen, one of the elements that make up water.


Joseph Priestly discovered oxygen, which is the element commonest in nature. Antonie Lavoisier was the first to clearly explain fire. He also proved that nothing can be destroyed, only changed from one form to another.

John Dalton had an idea that all substances are made of tiny bits of matter. Scientists came to believe that chemical changes came about through the combination of these tiny bits. They are now called “atoms”.

The idea of atoms made most of the mysteries of chemistry seem simple and reasonable. The science of chemistry thus continued to develop and today the chemist has become a creator of new materials. he has learned how to take molecules apart and put them together in different ways.

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