History of the Discovery of the Elements

History of the Discovery of the Elements

Author: Hans-Jürgen Quadbeck-Seeger

The history of discovering elements shows us important lessons about how science progresses:

  1. Development is laborious; it is a slow and unpredictable process, not a straightforward path.
  2. Big leaps in knowledge happen when new theoretical concepts, like disproving the phlogiston hypothesis (“the” paradigm shift) or discovering the atomic model of Dalton as well as the Periodic Table, come into play. New methods, like electrochemistry  and X-rays, also speed things up.
  3. Advances in theory and developments in methodology arose mostly from fundamental research.  This was crucial for European research.







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