By Ray Spangenburg
Addressing a interval within the background of technological know-how marked by way of nice switch, this quantity surveys the clinical achievements that introduced the advance of classical technology to a detailed and set the degree for the breakthroughs of contemporary technological know-how within the twentieth century. overlaying such scientists as Faraday, Darwin, and Pasteur and developments in chemistry, physics, and body structure, The Age of Synthesis: 1800-1895 bargains an in-depth examine the tensions and controversies over technological know-how in this interval, and the way society was once stuck in the course of the various disputes.
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Additional info for The Age of Synthesis: 1800-1895 (History of Science.)
For most people Mendeleyev’s periodic law had finally gained acceptance. He had recognized a natural order, in the manner of every good scientist, where chaos had seemed to reign. But no one knew why this order, this periodicity, existed. That required knowing abut the nucleus of the atom and its structure, and in the 19th century scientists were not yet ready to part with the idea that the atoms with which they were working were unsplittable. Yet, the way the number of elements kept steadily increasing, chemists seemed to be getting further and further away from the few simple building blocks of nature they had set out to find.
A Dutch chemist, Jacobus Van’t Hoff, translated many of Kekulé’s structural ideas into three-dimensional models that served to clarify much of organic chemistry, including the isomer puzzle that Biot and Pasteur had worked on. Kekulé’s structural insights brought order to organic chemistry where at the beginning of the century incredible confusion had existed, and though many theoretical refinements have been made since, his ideas still serve to guide chemists through the thicket of synthesis and provide a model that visualizes the organic molecule and predicts its reactions.
But look! What was that? One of the snakes had seized hold of its own tail, and the form whirled mockingly before my eyes. As if by a flash of lightning I awoke; and this time also I spent the rest of the night working out the consequence of the hypothesis. What Kekulé came up with was what we now call the benzene ring, a molecule composed of benzene’s carbon and hydrogen molecules arranged not in an open chain but in a closed hexagon, with alternate single and double bonds in rapid oscillation.