Traveling with the Atom

Allegheny College

(compiled by Dr.Glen E. Rodgers)



Dalton's symbols for various atoms and their compounds
John Dalton
English Chemist
Dalton Caricature- donated by William Jensen, University of Cincinnati 

Contribution to the Development of the Atomic Concept
Dalton used the atomic ideas of the Greeks, Lavoisier's Law of Conservation of Mass (1772), and the Proust's Law of Definite Composition (1799) to construct the first concrete atomic theory in 1807.  He also discovered and used his atomic theory to account for the Law of Multiple Proportions and devised the Law of Partial Pressures.  He was steadfast in his belief that diatomic molecules of the elements did not exist.  His resistance to this idea (as predicted by Gay-Lussac's Law of Combining Volumes) set back progress in the atomic concept for five decades.  The Avogadro/Dalton controversy was finally resolved at the Kahlsruhe Conference in 1860.

Web Sources of Biographical Information
Excerpts from Dalton's "A New System of Chemical Philosophy"
"MY BROTHER, JOHN" (Woodrow Wilson Webpage)

Selected Biographical Books, Sections of Books, and Articles
Full biographical information on Sacks' book Uncle Tungsten pp 147-155
Full biographical information on Asimov's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, 2nd Ed. pp 259-261
John Dalton Papers, Special Collections Guide, John Rylands University Library, Manchester, England The Concept of an Atom from Democritus to John Dalton
by John J. McDonnell
John Dalton 1766-1844: a Bibliography of Works By and About Him, A. L. Smyth

Some Scientific/Historical Traveling Sites
Dalton's Wooden Spheres Science Museum, Exhibition Rd, London
Dalton Birthplace* A white, privately owned bungalow in Eaglesfield, at the edge of Lake District, England.  Take the A5086 south from Cockermouth (1)
Memorial to Dalton at the Society of Friends (Quakers) Meeting House* Pardshaw Hall (not to be confused with the village of Pardshaw), England.  Take the A5086 south from Cockermouth (1)
Statues of John Dalton* and James Joule In the entrance hall of the Manchester, England Town Hall (1)
Ford Madox Brown mural painting* of John Dalton collecting marsh gas The Great Hall on the second floor of the Manchester, England, Town Hall (1)
Statue of Dalton Outside the Dalton building of Manchester Metropolitan University at the corner of Oxford Street and Chester Street (1)
Building housing Dalton home and place where he did many of his experiments 36 George St., Manchester, owned by the Society of Friends; marked by a commerative plaque (1)
Collection of Dalton manuscripts* John Rylands Library*, Manchester, England.  Need identification to be admitted to the reading room and view these manuscripts.
* see following Rodgers link to scientific/historical sites for further information.
(1) Taken from The Scientific Traveler, Charles Tanford and Jacqueline, John Wiley & Sons, NY (1992).
(2) Taken from A Travel Guide to Scientific Sites of the British Isles, Charles Tanford and Jacqueline Reynolds, John Wiley & Sons, NY (1995).
(3) Taken from Guide of Eurpoean Museums with collections on History of Chemistry, compiled by Jan W. van Spronsen, Federation of European Societies, Antwerp (1996)

Links to Dr. Rodgers' Scientific/Historical Sites on John Dalton.
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