Chapter 7-Elemental Matters



Discovering Elements
By Melia

In the eighteenth century, Johann Becher, who produced work on mineralogy called Physica Subterranea, thought that when given the right materials he could possibly make himself invisible. In 1675 a German named Hennig Brand made a very intresting discovery. He was convinced that gold could be made from human urine, because their color was very similar. So Brand decided to test his theory, and he got fifty buckets of human urine and tested it in his cellar. He first changed the urine into some sort of paste, then it transformed into a waxy substance. Even though the urine did not turn into gold it did one interesting thing, it started to glow, then it burst into flames. This soon became known as Phosphorus but it didn't go over to well with the average business people.
Meanwhile, a poor pharmacist named Scheele, didn't have much luck in the scientific world. He discoverd the eight elements: chlorine, fluorine, manganese, barium, molybdenum, tungsten, nitrogen, and oxygen. Even though he discovered them he got credit for none of them. His discoveries were either ignored or someone else made the same discovery and was very open about it. Scheele also discovered many compounds such as ammonia, glycerin and tannic acid. Scheele was also the first to see chlorine as a potential bleach. Since he wasn't given credit for any of his discoveries, other people made the same discoveries after him and became really wealthy. Sceele also discovered oxygen but he didnt get his papers out in time so all credit went to Joseph Priestley. Scheele aslo had a nack for tasting a little bit of everything he worked with, which was usually harmful chemicals. Well, this eventually caught up to him and he died in 1786 at the age of 43.
After the two branches of chemistry were founded, organic and inorganic, someone needed to bring chemistry into the modern age and it was Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier. Lavoisier was a Frenchmen who was borin in 1743 and was a member of the minor nobility. In 1768, he started working at this company called the Ferme Generale, which collected takes and fees for the government. But this company on collected taxes from the poor and not the rich. The reason why he stayed was because he was paid really good money. When his career peaked he married the 14 year old daughter of one of his bosses, and became fairly well known for all of his accomplishments. Lavoisier found the time to be the commisioner of gunpowder, supervise a wall around Paris to deter smugglers, he found the metric system, and was the coauthor of the book Methode de Nomenclature Chimique, which was known for being the book that helped agree what the names for the elements would be. The one thing Lavoisier never did was discoveer an element. A hundred years after his death, a statue was made of him. Then one day someone pointed out that it looked nothing like him, and the sculptor admitted that he had used the head of a mathematician named Marquis de Condorcet. So the statue was allowed to stay until World War II, when the statue was melted down and was taken for its scraps.



In the 1800s, a trend began in England. The trend was inhaling nitrous oxide (a.k.a. laughing gas).When it was discovered, it was "highly pleasurable thrilling". Theaters used to have "laughing gas evenings" where the guests could get a good refreshment. They would then entertain each other with their strange behavior.
It was 1846 before anybody started using nitrous oxide for useful things. Many people went through searing pain in surgeries and any other thing that the doctor would have to do because they didn’t pay attention to the most obvious side effect of this "laughing gas".
Nevertheless, chemistry went far in the eighteenth century, but took some steps backwards in the first few dozens of years, almost identical to the birth of geology in the twentieth century. This happened for many reasons. One, there were limitations to the equipment needed. Many of the tools needed, such as centrifuges stopped lots of experiments and ideas. Another big thing that caused back steps was the social part. Chemistry was simply a science for business people


marie_and_pierre_curie.jpg
The Curies
Radioacitve Elements
Callie


In the nineteenth century, there was one last surprise for many chemist. It all began in 1896 when Henri Becquerel, in Paris, left a packet of uranium salts on a wrapped photographic plate in a drawer. Later, when he took out the plate, he was surprised to see that the salts had left an impression where they had burned the plate. It looked as if the plate had been exposed to light. The salt were emitting a new sort of rays.
When Becquerel considered the importance of his new discovery, he did a very unusual thing: he left the matter over to a graduate student for investigation named Marie Curie. She was an emigre from Poland. While working with her husband, Pierre, Curie discovered the certain kinds of rocks emit out constant and extraordinary amounts of energy, yet without diminishing in size or changing in any noticeable way.

But, what Curie and her husband didn't know, well , couldn't know rather,(they wouldn't know these things until Einstein explained it the following decade), is that the salt rocks converted mass into energy in a extremely efficient way-what Maire Curie deemed it as "radioactivity". While working on the experiment, both of the Curies found new elements--polonium, named after Marie Curie's native country, and radium. The Curie and Becquerel were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in the year of 1903. In 1911, Curie also won second prize in chemistry. She is the only person to win in both chemisty and physics.
At the University in Montreal a young, New Zeland-born named Ernest Rutherford became interested in the new radioactive materials the Curie and Becquerel found. Rutherford and a colleage named Frederick Doddy he discovered that the immense reserves of energy were bound up in these small omounts of matter, and that the raioiactive decay in them could be the cause for most of the Earth's warmth.They also found that radioactive elements decayed into different elements. For example, on day you at an atom of uranium, then the next day you had an atom of aluminum. Many people found this fact very, truly, extraordinary. It was plainly and simply alchemy; nobody had ever thought of something like this that could happen naturally and so randomly.
Rutherford nothiced that in any sample of radioactive material, it always took the same amount of time for half of the sample to decay--the element's half-life. This steady, relaible decay could as a kind of clock, it was always exactly on time. If you calculated backward from how much radiation a material had now and how swiftly it was decaying, you could figure out its age.
In the spring of 1904, Rutherford travled to London to give a lecture at teh Royal Institution. He was there to talk about his new disintegration theory of radioactivity. Rutherford discovered through an experiment that thanks to radioactivity the Earth could be much older than the 24 million years Kelvin's calculations allowed.
But, Rutherford's new findings were not accepted by universities, as were most scientific revolutions. John Joly insisted well into the 1930s the the Earth could not be anymore than 89 million years old. Some people worried that Rutherford had given them too much time. Although, even with radiometric dating, decay measurements became known, and it would be decades before we got within a billion years of the Earth's actual age.
Radiation went on and on, and in ways nobody expected. However, in the early 1900s Perrie Curie began to show symptoms of radiation sickness such as notably dull aches in his bones and chronic feelings of malaise with would have progressed unpleasantly. Although we will never know for sure because in 1906 he was fatally run over by a carriage while crossing a street in Paris.
Marie Curie worked on and spent the rest of her life working with a distinction in the field, helping found the celebrated Radium Institute of teh University of Paris in 1914. She was never elected into the Academy of Sciences, mostly because after the death of Perrie she had an affair with and married a physicist that was sufficiently indiscreet to scandalize even the French.
Thanks to the devoted and un wittingly high-risk work of the first atomic scientists, by the early years of the twentieth century it was becoming more and more clear that Earth was very venerable, although another half century of science would have to be done before anybody could correctly say how venerable. Meanwhile, science was about to get a new age of its own--the atomic ag
e.


Section 4:Ronna
In, 1808, a dour quaker named John Dalton became the first person to intimate the nature of the atom. The Chemical Society of London was not founded until 1841, and didn't begin to produce regular journal until 1848,by which time most learned societies in Britian Geological, Geographical, Zoological, Horticultural, Linnean were at least twenty-five years old and often much more. The rival institution of chemistry didn;t come into being until 1877,A year after the founding of American Chemical Society. For so long Chemist worked in isolation, conventions were slow to emerge. Until well into the second half of the century,the formula H2O2 might mean water to one chemist and hydrogen proxide to another. C2H2 could signify ethelene or marsh gas. DmitriMendeleyev was the youngest of seven children his father a headmaster at the local school, went blind and his mother had to go to work. She eventually got a job in a local factory where she became a manager until it burned down. And the family was reduced to penery. But she was determined to give her youngest child an education. So Mrs. Mendeleyev and her son hitchedhiked four thousand miles to St, Petersburg. She died soon after. Mendeleyev dutifully completed his studies and eventually landed a position at a local university. There he was a competent but not a terribly outstanding chemist, know more for his wild hair and beard, than for the gifts in the laboratory. However in 1869, at the age of thirty-five, he began to toy with a way to arrange the elements were normally grouped in two ways. Mendeleyev was said to have been inspired card gameknown as solataire in Noth America and patience elsewhere. Cards are arranged in horizontal rows called periods and vertical columns called groups. This instantly showed relationships when read up and down or side to side specifically,the vertical columns put together chemicals that have similar properties. Thus copper sets on top of silver and silver sets on top of gold because of their chemical affinities as metals, while helium, neon and argon are in a column made up of gases. The horizontal rows, meanwhile,arrange the chemicals in a ascending order by the number of protons in their nuclei what is known as their atomic number. The structure of atoms and the significance of protons will come in a following chapter, so for the moment all that is necessary is to appreciate the organizing principle: Hydrogen has just one proton, and so it has an atomic number of one and comes first on the chart. Uranium has ninety-two protons, and so it comes near the end and has a ninety-two naturally occuring ones plus a couple of dozen that have been created in the labs The actual number is sightly contentious because the heavy synthesized elements for only millioniths of seconds and chemist sometimes argue over whether they have really been detected or not. In Mendeleyv day just sixty-three elements were known. but parts of this cleverness was to realize that the elements as then known didnt make a complete picture, that many pieces were missing. His table predicted, with pleasing accuracy, where new elements would slot in when they were found. No one knows, incidentally, how high the number of elements might go, though anything beyond 168 as an atomic weight is considered "purely speculative. but what is certain is that anything that is found will fit neatly into Mendelyev's great scheme.