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Happy Birthday, Atom

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the how-old-are-you-now-how-old-are-you-now dept.

Science 139

Shipud writes "200 years ago today (Oct. 21) John Dalton revolutionized chemistry by starting the process of turning it into an exact science. He presented the Table of Atomic Weights, at the Manchester literary and Philosophical Society. Dalton's work proposed atoms exist: and not just as an explanatory or philosophical tool. His theory laid the foundations for the periodic table of the elements (1869, Mendeleev), and indeed to all modern chemistry. The molecular weight of compounds is today measured in Daltons, the weight of a hydrogen atom. Read more about Mr. Dalton in today's Nature: a man of many interests, whose atomic theory preceded experimental evidence by a century. Read also about Daltonism -- and why it is named after him."

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Gee Thanks Pal (3, Funny)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275704)

Thanks for almost making me fail Chemistry cause my dumb-ass teacher made me memorize the first 80 elements for a test!

This comment was just a joke. If you are replying to say anything about how it'd be harder or memorizing 80 things are easy, save your fingers

Re:Gee Thanks Pal - WHAT A WASTE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7275711)

This story is completely useless; thanks for news that I could give a Rat's Ass about!

Re:Gee Thanks Pal - WHAT A WASTE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7275753)

like News for Turds. Stuff that Stinks?
That kind of waste?

Why don't you wait... (0, Troll)

siskbc (598067) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275788)

...until the next useless story about how Apple increased it's G5 processor by 0.1 GHz. Is that more along the lines of what you were looking for?

You don't like it, block science stories. It's easy, and then you won't have to tax your widdle bwain.

Re:Why don't you wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276005)

teh macz r sooo k3wl! u are jus envioos!

Re:Gee Thanks Pal - WHAT A WASTE (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275800)

Yes, you certainly shouldn't give a rat's ass about chemistry, or the atom, or the fact that without the scientific and technological advances brought about over the years by building upon the work of people like Dalton, you'd still be living in a cave and wouldn't be able to post as an Anonymous Asshat on Slashdot.

No, nothing to care about at all.

Re:Gee Thanks Pal - WHAT A WASTE (1)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275846)

you'd still be living in a cave and wouldn't be able to post as an Anonymous Asshat on Slashdot.

I etch my Slashdot commets on the walls of my cave in Lascaux using bison blood and charcoal, you insensitive clod!

Re:Gee Thanks Pal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7275798)

Nerd 1: Come on, Mr. Simpson, you'll never pass this course if you don't know the periodic table.

Homer: Ehh, I'll write it on my hand.

Nerd 1: Hah! Including all known lanthanides and actinides? Ha, ha! Good luck

Re:Gee Thanks Pal (1, Funny)

Jason1729 (561790) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275968)

You must be the dumbass. The symbols make a nice pronouncable string of sylables.

h-heli-beb-cnof-ne-na-mg-al-sips-clark-ca....

We only had to memorize the first 40, but the teacher demonstrated that he could still do the first 80.

It's important to memorize the periodic table if you want to do anything in chemistry, so if you can't handle it, you deserve to fail. Everyone knows chemistry is mostly memorization anyway.

Jason
ProfQuotes [profquotes.com]

Re:Gee Thanks Pal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276155)

Are you kidding, or can you not read?

Re:Gee Thanks Pal (1)

Spyffe (32976) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276860)

Tom Lehrer, as I recall, set them to music [maricopa.edu] .

Re:Gee Thanks Pal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7275993)

You know your jokes suck when the disclaimer is longer than the actual joke.

Re:Gee Thanks Pal (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276037)

You know your Pee-Niss is too small when the foreskin is longer than the actual shaft.

Re:Gee Thanks Pal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276701)

Ok, everybody sing along now! [privatehand.com]

Nuclear Reactors (0, Redundant)

sik0fewl (561285) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275706)

And now we can make small nuclear reactors [slashdot.org] .

He proposed, but did not prove (5, Informative)

rev063 (591509) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275717)

Dalton proposed the existence of the atom, but it took Rutherford to verify its structure and prove it existed as Dalton suggested.

Re:He proposed, but did not prove (1)

pnjman (640553) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275752)

Ahhh, Rutherford another Manchester boy.

Re:He proposed, but did not prove (1)

Xybot (707278) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276159)

Manchester is not in New Zealand where Rutherford was from.

Re:He proposed, but did not prove (1)

pnjman (640553) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276532)

Yes, but I meant his work was done at the University of Manchester.

Re:He proposed, but did not prove (4, Informative)

Shipud (685171) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275781)

Actually, by Rutherford's time the atomic theory was well established experimentally by Jean Perrin [nobel.se] Rutherford contributed to the nuclear theory of the atom (i.e. that it is composed of a nucleus which holds most of teh atom's mass and orbiting electrons of opposite charges).

Perrin didn't get experimental evidence (4, Informative)

siskbc (598067) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276308)

Actually, by Rutherford's time the atomic theory was well established experimentally by Jean Perrin Rutherford contributed to the nuclear theory of the atom (i.e. that it is composed of a nucleus which holds most of the atom's mass and orbiting electrons of opposite charges).

Not really. Perrin did work complementary to that of Thomson regarding the negative nature of part of the atom (ie, cathode rays). He also *proposed* a solar-system model for the atom in 1901, but wasn't able to substantiate this. Later, he did some work on Brownian motion, and that's what he got the prize for (as mentioned in your link, actually). But he didn't get any experimental evidence for the heavy nucleus surrounded by a very undense region. Rutherford did, in 1909, with his alpha-particle backscattering experiment. Without that experiment, which was certainly not redundant, it's hard to imagine how established atomic theory could possibly have been.

Really, atomic theory wasn't well established at least until Millikan did his oil-drop experiment, establishing the charge/mass ratio of the electron, and by deduction, the proton as well.

And we're still teaching it wrongly (4, Insightful)

devphil (51341) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276141)


Even today many schoolrooms have recently-published science books that show a model of the atom that looks like a little solar system, electrons in orbits and all. No mention of quantum/wave dynamics, or the fact that they don't behave anything like orbiting bodies in a solar system.

No, I don't expect 5th graders to learn quantum theory. But just because spherical trigonometry is also too hard for them, I don't expect them to be taught that the earth is flat.

Side note: http://www.intuitor.com/physics_test/index.html is from the same people who brought you the Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics site. See whether you know more about physics than a random chimpanzee!

Re:And we're still teaching it wrongly (1)

00420 (706558) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276190)

Even today many schoolrooms have recently-published science books that show a model of the atom that looks like a little solar system, electrons in orbits and all. No mention of quantum/wave dynamics, or the fact that they don't behave anything like orbiting bodies in a solar system.

My high school physics teacher told us that electrons most likely have an eliptical orbit like planets, but that there's really no way to know.

Granted this was a phyics concepts class, so very little math was involved, but what's up with the complete misinformation? I'm guessing the teacher just didn't really know anything about physics.

Re:And we're still teaching it wrongly (1)

red floyd (220712) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276609)

My high school physics teacher told us that electrons most likely have an eliptical orbit like planets, but that there's really no way to know.

Wasn't that the Sommerfeld model? Just before Schroedinger set us up the wave equation?

Ummmm (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276458)

Dunno about that. I was taught a model of probility clouds. They drew little probability cones (at 90% probibility I think) like you see in most university text books. They also taught us breifly some of the previous models like the Bohr model (I think that's the one you are talking about) and back to the Dalton model.

However the coolest demonstration was in university, with magnets. Playing with multiple magnets gave you a fields that layed out iron filings in the same shape as different electron orbits. Fun demonstration.

Re:And we're still teaching it wrongly (1)

Gil-galad55 (707960) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276970)

While wrong, the "orbiting/spinning electron" picture gives surprisingly valid results. For instance, the magnetic moment of an electron can be easily calculated by assuming it is spinning (even though if this were the case, areas on the surface of the electron would be traveling faster than c!), and the orbital angular momentum of an electron about its nucleus (in the simple case of hydrogen) can likewise be simply calculated using an orbital picture. This was essentially the method Bohr used when he first proposed quantization of angular momentum in the atom and calculated it. Since hydrogen doesn't have any complex orbitals, the results were surprisingly good. It wasn't until more complex systems were examined that the "classical" picture of orbiting electrons really broke down.

Re:And we're still teaching it wrongly (3, Insightful)

Rasta Prefect (250915) | more than 10 years ago | (#7277224)

Even today many schoolrooms have recently-published science books that show a model of the atom that looks like a little solar system, electrons in orbits and all. No mention of quantum/wave dynamics, or the fact that they don't behave anything like orbiting bodies in a solar system.

True, but assuming that they're fifth graders, this provides a handy model for the way things actually work when the point you want to get across is that everything is made of atoms and they share electrons to form molecules. We also teach them Newtons three laws of motion, not mentioning until later "Well this gets all screwed up when you add in gravity and motion". It's an approximation, it's good enough when it's a means to an end. Not everything has to be learned at once.

Re:And we're still teaching it wrongly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7277244)

I don't know about you, but in whatever grade that was I was taught two things to keep in mind when looking at the solar system model. To paraphrase, electrons are really fucking fast and don't really follow a fixed orbit.

There was some crap about Heisenberg too, but I'm never sure exactly what.

Daltons (5, Informative)

friendofafriend (602350) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275733)

Actually, isn't a dalton 1/12th the mass of a C12 atom? While very close to the mass of H1, they are not identical.

Re:Daltons (1)

sik0fewl (561285) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275815)

Yes, that's correct.
The average mass of Hydrogen is 1.008 amu

I tried posting the source of this information, but slashdot's retarded lameness filter wanted me to use fewer 'junk' characters.

He's a terrorist! (0, Offtopic)

Hal The Computer (674045) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275832)

You horrible terrorist, you just explained the principle behind a Hydrogen Bomb. There are penalties for those who reveal the precious secrets of fusion.
:-)

Re:He's a terrorist! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276034)

shouldn't that be terrible terrorist? where terror is real and horror is fiction? thats why we don't call them "horrorists"?

Re:He's a terrorist! (1)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276274)

Just to put your mind at ease, explaining how a hydrogen can go under uncontrolled fusion reactiobn doesn't mean you know how to make it happen.

Re:Daltons (1)

jimhill (7277) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275884)

The atomic mass unit is defined as 1/12 a C12 atom (used to be 1/16 an O16 atom)...I don't know if the amu is the same thing as a Dalton.

In fact... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7275995)

3 Daltons is roughly equivalent to one Lucky Luke.

Re:In fact... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276566)

and the 4th (Averell) is too busy drowning himself in his soup...

Re:Daltons (1)

xihr (556141) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276700)

Yes, but it's more commonly known as the atomic mass unit, amu.

Atom! (2, Funny)

pheared (446683) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275734)

Ranier Wolfcastle: Up and at them!

Re:Atom! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7275794)

Idiot.

Re:Atom! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276175)

The goggles... they do nothing!

FIRST FIREBIRD POST YOU IE LOVING MOTHERFUCKERS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7275741)

eom

Re:FIRST FIREBIRD POST YOU IE LOVING MOTHERFUCKERS (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276109)

IE is graet! Right now I'm installing this Dial-thingy which allows me to view ALL porn sits FOR FREE!

Isn't that graet?

That reminds me of ..... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7275748)

I had a Profy in our freshmen year by the name Dalton. He would always refer to "Quantum Numbers" as "Condom Numbers"

Re:That reminds me of ..... (1)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276400)

I had a Profy in our freshmen year by the name Dalton. He would always refer to "Quantum Numbers" as "Condom Numbers"

You may have misheard him say Condon, as in the Condon-Shortley phase convention [wolfram.com] for spherical harmonics [wolfram.com] .

What should it's present be? (3, Funny)

Limburgher (523006) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275769)

I mean, what do you get for the guy who's everything? (rimshot)

DUH! (3, Funny)

Hal The Computer (674045) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275801)

A universe to put it in.
(rimshot)

How about a rimjob? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7275860)

Re:How about a rimjob? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276130)

I tek 2 ... no no no ... 4 ... no no no ... I want ALL. Cum rite hear an doo it!

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Re:What should it's present be? (1)

titzandkunt (623280) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275867)


You let your kitten go feral and expect to be taken seriously?

Really - of all the cheek!

T&K.

Re:What should it's present be? (1)

Limburgher (523006) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276092)

It wasn't my kitten! Well, it was, but from a previous game. I had died, leaving it abandoned. I had no choice but to let it go feral.

Of course, it's probably still in level 12, waiting for me. . .

Re:What should it's present be? (1)

titzandkunt (623280) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276195)


Ah well, just pelt 'em with tripe, and all will be well...

T&K.

Re:What should it's present be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276338)

I don't waste tripe that way anymore. Who needs more than one cat. I throw carrots and apples. They leave me alone and I get to keep the fruit.

Re:What should it's present be? (1)

epiphani (254981) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276457)

Theres a song by They Might be Giants (Those wonderful folks that brought you "You're not the boss of Me Now" of television fame and the old classic "Istanbul, not Constantinople") that came to mind when reading this.

The lyrics are:

You're older than you've ever been,
And now you're even older.
And now you're even older.
And now you're even older.
(*lather, rinse, repeat*)

Time! (dhh dhh)
Marches on! (dhh dhh)
....
And time! (dhh)
...
..
...

Is still marching on! (dhh dhh)

And so on...

Re:What should it's present be? (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276465)

Point out the
prizes that aren't and have him look for them.

Oh shit! I forgot to buy a present! (3, Funny)

winkydink (650484) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275770)

I am soooooo screwed.

Re:Oh shit! I forgot to buy a present! (3, Funny)

Kufat (563166) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275811)

200th anniversary? I think that's the Cesium year.

Re:Oh shit! I forgot to buy a present! (1)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276645)

Just make sure you take it off before you wash your hands.

You think you're screwed now... (1)

Faust7 (314817) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276325)

Just wait till Christmas rolls around and you have to buy presents for all its relatives.

Let me demonstrate (-1, Offtopic)

falxx (456915) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275782)

"He was the archetypal scientific dabbler, with interests ranging from meteorology to colour vision - he was colour-blind, a condition that became known as daltonism. He taught chemistry but had no experience of chemical research."

If I get this right, let me demonstrate what 'daltonism' is:

If, or when, this post get modded down +redundant, I've proven my point (:

Re:Let me demonstrate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276014)

That was clever!

Dalton? (3, Funny)

(void*) (113680) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275793)

Personally, I think Sean Connery ... oh wait, nevermind.

Happy birthday, atom! (-1)

Genghis Troll (158585) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275824)

In the article on the facing page entitled "The Indian Revolt," Karl Marx describes the massive rebellion against British colonial rule that swept through northern India in 1857-58. Marx and Frederick Engels wrote extensively about the colonial plunder of India and the brutal exploitation the British rulers imposed on the toilers of that country, factors that led to what became known as the sepoy revolt. They pointed to the rebellion as the first national uprising against their foreign oppressors, and saw within it the seeds of future struggles for national liberation.
The 1857 uprising began with a rebellion by Indian troops, known as sepoys, who were employed in the service of the British East India Company. By the mid-19th century the East India Company had completed its territorial conquests and ruled the country and its hundreds of millions of inhabitants as a private fiefdom. In order to control its holdings, the company established an army of 200,000 South Asians officered by 40,000 British soldiers. "Order"--and profits for the company--were maintained through systematic terror and violence against the Indian population.

The issue sparking the revolt was the introduction by British forces of the new Enfield rifle. To load it the sepoys had to bite off the ends of cartridges that were lubricated with a mixture of lard from pigs and cows. The soldiers, both Muslims and Hindus, took this as an insult to their religious and cultural practices, which forbid oral contact with such types of meat.

After sepoy troops in Meerut refused to use the cartridges in April 1857, British authorities fettered and imposed long prison terms on them. In response, other sepoys rose up to free their imprisoned comrades. They shot their British officers May 10 and marched to Delhi, where there were no European troops. The revolt then also spread to the cities of Agra, Cawnpore, and Lucknow.

The rebellion grew to include more than just the relatively privileged Indian soldiers who began the fight. It encompassed peasants throughout northern India who were subjected to exorbitant taxes and torture at the hand of British colonial administrators. The sepoys were, in their origins, peasants with close ties to their kinspeople in the villages.

Writing in the Aug. 28, 1857, edition of the New York Daily Tribune, Marx stated, "The British rulers of India are by no means such mild and spotless benefactors of the Indian people as they would have the world believe." He cited the official Blue Books--entitled "East India (Torture) 1855-57"--presented before the House of Commons during sessions in 1856 and 1857 that document what Marx describes as "the universal existence of torture as a financial institution of British India." Officials on the scene used such methods to force the collection of taxes from the peasantry, for example.

Commenting on the onerous taxes imposed on the Indian people, Richard Collier writing in The Great Indian Mutiny stated, "A man could not travel 20 miles without paying toll at a river ferry, farmed out by the Company to private speculators. Land Tax, often demanded before the crop was raised, was made in quarterly installments...the annual rent for an acre of land was 3s[hillings], yet the produce of that acre rarely averaged 8s in value."

The rebellion took on the character of a national revolt against British colonial rule. In one of his many articles on the subject in 1857, Marx noted that the British, in creating a native army, had simultaneously organized the "first general center of resistance which the Indian people was ever possessed of." For the first time, soldiers of the Indian army, recruited from different communities, Hindus and Muslims, landlords and peasants, had come together in opposition to British rule.

In Cawnpore, Nana Sahib, the adopted son of Baji Rao II, the last Peshwa of the Maratha kingdom, joined the revolt. Earlier, British Lord Dalhousie had twice refused to recognize the Hindu nobleman's claim to this position in Indian society. Through the course of the fighting Sahib succeeded in reinstating himself as prince.

A hysterical campaign was whipped up by the British rulers that sought to demonize Sahib in order to justify their massive military assault on the Indian people in revolt.

Sir Colin Campbell, for example, the leader of the British forces during these battles, depicted the natives in revolt as the source of the violence and brutality in India. He wrote:

Never was devised a blacker scheme than that which Nena Sahib had planned. Our miserable countrymen were conducted faithfully enough to the boats--officers, men, women, and children. The men and officers were allowed to take their arms and ammunition with them, and were escorted by nearly the whole of the rebel army. It was about eight o'clock a.m. when all reached the riverside--a distance of a mile and a half. Those who embarked first pushed off from the shore; but others found it difficult to get their boats off the banks, as the rebels had placed them as high as possible. At this moment the report of three guns was heard from the Nena's camp. The mutineers suddenly levelled their muskets, guns opened from the banks, and the massacre commenced. Some of the boats were set on fire, volley upon volley was fired upon the poor fugitives, numbers of whom were killed on the spot.... A few boats crossed over the opposite bank, but there a regiment of native infantry (the 17th), just arrived from Azimghur, was waiting for them; and in their eagerness to slay the "Kaffirs," rode their horses belly deep into the river to meet the boats, and hack our unhappy country men and women to pieces."
However, the actions taken by the rebelling sepoys pale in comparison to the brutality and cruelty inflicted by the British forces, which were reinforced with additional troops from the United Kingdom. In a July 1853 article, Marx pointed out that "the profound hypocrisy and inherent barbarism of bourgeois civilization lies unveiled before our eyes, turning from its home, where it assumes respectable forms, to the colonies, where it goes naked."

In putting down the revolt begun by the sepoys, the British troops followed a policy of killing those they captured instead of taking prisoners. Hundreds of sepoys were tied to the mouth of cannons and then blasted to smithereens as British officers gave the order to fire. The British used this method as an example to others who might dare to oppose their rule, because of the religious belief that by blowing the body to pieces the victim lost all hope of entering paradise. One historical account says nearly all the sepoys were killed, and "many a British family saw its fortune made during the pacification of northern India," from the looting of homes and holy places.

Writing in a May 8, 1858, New York Daily Tribune article, Engels described the massacre carried out by the British as they retook the city of Lucknow. Crowds were mowed down under cannon fire, while others were executed by advancing British troops with their bayonets. "The 'British bayonet,'" noted Engels, "has done more execution in any of these onslaughts on panic-stricken natives than in all the wars of the English in Europe and America put together."

Upon taking Lucknow, the British troops plundered the place. "For twelve days and nights there was no British army at Lucknow--nothing but a lawless, drunken, brutal rabble, dissolved into bands of robbers, far more lawless, violent and greedy than the sepoys who had just been driven out of the place," stated Engels. "The sack of Lucknow in 1858 will remain an everlasting disgrace to the British military service."

Commenting on the "state of things in a civilized army in the 19th century," Engels noted, "If any other troops in the world had committed one-tenth of these excesses, how would the indignant British press brand them with infamy! But these are the deeds of the British army, and therefore we are told that such things are but the normal consequences of war.... The fact is there is no army in Europe or America with so much brutality as the British. Plundering, violence, massacre--things that everywhere else are strictly and completely banished--are a time-honoured privilege, a vested right of the British soldier."

Through military action taken in the latter part of 1857 and the first six months of 1858, British forces reestablished their control over all the cities and towns involved in the revolt. In response to the rebellion, the East India Company was abolished and India was put under direct rule of the British government. It would take another 90 years of struggle until the Indian workers and peasants would succeed--through a massive strike wave led by the working class--in throwing off the yoke of British rule and winning political independence in 1947.

In reviewing the history of British rule in India, noted Marx, "Dispassionate and thoughtful men may perhaps be led to ask whether a people are not justified in attempting to expel the foreign conquerors who have so abused their subjects. And if the English could do these things in cold blood, is it surprising that the insurgent Hindus should be guilty, in the fury of revolt and conflict, of the crimes and cruelties alleged against them?"

Dalton's problems with those atomic models (2, Insightful)

azzy (86427) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275836)

You know those atomic models we played with at school.. the coloured balls that we attached together with plastic sticks.. making up molecules... Dalton must have had quite a lot of trouble with that if he was colour blind.. so even more kudos for being able to work all that stuff out.. I give him an A+

For those who don't get it... (1)

fejikso (567395) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276518)

Daltonic = color blind

Creative and funny :) Please mod up this guy...

SING IT LOUD! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7275871)

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Atom
Happy Bi...

(knock at door)
Freeze!...This is the RIAA...
you are under arrest for massive copyright violation and you are going to jail for a long long long time...

whimper.
TDz.

Give Joseph Black his due credit! (3, Informative)

Richard Mills (17522) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275880)

"200 years ago today (Oct. 21) John Dalton revolutionized chemistry by starting the process of turning it into an exact science"

Can't argue with John Dalton having helped revolutionize chemistry, but he didn't start the process of turning it into an exact science. I think that the credit for that probably belongs to British chemist Joseph Black, who founded calorimetry and was one of the first scientists to emphasize quantitative experiments. (Interestingly, at Edinburgh his chemistry chair was unsalaried!)

Re:Give Joseph Black his due credit! (4, Informative)

madmancarman (100642) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276012)

There should also be some credit given to Henry Mosely [k12.il.us] , the British scientist who arranged the periodic table not only by chemical properties, but by atomic number (number of protons) as well.

Unfortunately for Mosely, he was volunteered for the British army in World War I and was killed in action when he was 27.

Re:Give Joseph Black his due credit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276840)

Lavoisier was the first to emphasis the importance of weighting the compounds in a chemical reaction, converting the alchemy into chemistry. Everything starts from that point in the chemistry world.

Re:Give Joseph Black his due credit! (1)

Angry Black Man (533969) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276437)

Traditionally, Laviosier (sp?) is considered the "Father of Modern Chemistry," for his quantitive experiments in the 1600's. Boyle is also given a lot of credit. I was looking through my brothers HS text book, and Joseph Black isn't even mentioned. It skips from Laviosier/Boyle -> Dalton -> Thomson -> Milikan -> Rutherford -> Plank -> Einstien (not neccesarily chronological order, but rather grouped based on discovery).

Separated at Birth (2, Funny)

nucal (561664) | more than 10 years ago | (#7275964)

John Dalton [nature.com] and John Lennon [newgenevacenter.org] .

Only 200 Years? (4, Insightful)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276021)

If dalton didn't prove anything and only theorized, didn't Leucippus and Democritus beat him by a few thousand years?

Re:Only 200 Years? (3, Informative)

queen of everything (695105) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276038)

Dalton (1766-1844) is widely regarded as the founder of the idea that all matter is made of tiny, indivisible particles called atoms. Although atoms were proposed 2500 years ago in ancient Greece, Dalton's work made them an indispensable part of chemical theory.
yes

Re:Only 200 Years? (1)

Sethus (609631) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276263)

The point is, is his timing was just right to spawn the revolutionary system of thinking in that time period, regaurdless of whether he stole the idea or thought it up.

Either way, the difference he made has an impact on our society, and that is why we must give him props. ^^

Re:Only 200 Years? (1)

forii (49445) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276390)

As I understand it, the ancient concept of an "atom" was more philosophical, whereas Dalton's concept was made in order to explain experimental results. So he gets the credit for the theory.

This sounds familiar... (3, Funny)

queen of everything (695105) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276022)

He taught chemistry but had no experience of chemical research

Resembles some teachers I had in High School

plum pudding no more (3, Funny)

juan2074 (312848) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276040)

Good thing atoms were invented.
Before that, everything was made of plum pudding!

Re:plum pudding no more (1)

red floyd (220712) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276644)

No, it's

Quantum Mechanics... the dreams stuff is made of...

(With apologies to whoever owns the .sig I stole this from)

Wait... (3, Informative)

Tribius (88884) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276059)

modern chemists don't measure molecular masses in daltons, they use gram/mole. Daltons aren't used until you get into larger molecules like proteins, as in "that protein is 70 kDa (kilodaltons) in size".

Re:Wait... (1)

srn_test (27835) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276871)

I've never heard a chemist use Daltons at all and I used to know a lot of chemists (my dad's a Uni professor).

They all use amu these days, I think. Maybe in the backward non-metric world they still use Daltons?

Re:Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7277116)

An amu and a dalton are the same thing. amu isn't a metric unit anyway; it's just a convenient mass unit because periodic tables list the mass of all elements in amu.
And people don't often use Daltons, but kilodaltons (kDa); this means that kDa is mostly a biochemical unit because most molecules that large are biological in origin.

Who??? (0)

dj1471 (531450) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276112)

How interesting. Every day I go to study at the Department of Engineering and Technology in the JOHN DALTON building here in Manchester, yet I had NO idea who John Dalton was, or what he had to do with Manchester.

At least now I'll have something to bore my classmates with tomorrow...

Re:Who??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276594)

What about Dalton Hall on Conyngham Road. Isn't that Hall of Residence still around?

AKAIK, it was also named after John Dalton.

Huh. (2, Funny)

Unknown Kadath (685094) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276115)

200? I could have sworn atoms were around 13.7 billion years old, give or take.

-Carolyn

Re:Huh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276574)

Yes, but only hydrogen atoms. The other atoms have probably formed in supernova explosions much later.

Re:Huh. (1)

Solitonic (136324) | more than 10 years ago | (#7277263)

Not so. By mass roughly 74% of baryons formed in the Big Bang were Hydrogen nuclei, 26% Helium, and Lithium and other elements in trace amounts. This was actually a very important confirmed prediction, one of the "big three" empirical evidences supporting the big bang.

Re:Huh. (1)

xihr (556141) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276788)

That would be take :-). Shortly after the Big Bang, whole atoms couldn't form since the photon destiny was way too high -- if a nucleus captured an electron (practically all H and He at that time), it would almost immediately be knocked out. And vice versa: the mean free path of a photon was tiny because it would always encounter nuclei or electrons. When things cooled down sufficiently, photons could travel free and atoms could form and expect to stay around. The transition where this occurred is called decoupling, and happened when the cosmic background dropped to about 3000 K and happened ~10^13 s, or somewhere between 100 000 y and 1 000 000 yr, after the Big Bang itself. This is where the 2.7 K cosmic background radiation we see today originally was originated, and marked the end of the radiation era and the matter era, the latter being the one we live in today.

Ironically (3, Informative)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276121)

When Dalton originally proposed his atomic theory there was much resistance. The idea of tiny, hard, indivisible units was unreasonable to many of the people around Dalton and it took a long time for people to accept his ideas. But guess what! The people who resisted were right. Today we have completely replaced the idea of an indivisible atom with a wavefunction in a Hilbert space. We might still call these things 'atoms' but they bear very little relationship with what Dalton was thinking of. In fact, at the time people used Dalton's theory as a metaphor as they couldn't take the ideas literally at all. And that's exactly what physicists do today.

Re:Ironically (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276376)

octave:1> exp(pi*sqrt(163))
ans = 2.6254e+17

I guess I'm to slow to figure this one out.

octave:5> printf("%20f\n", exp(pi*sqrt(163)));
262537412640768256.000000

Still lost.

Re:Ironically (1)

UserGoogol (623581) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276502)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) is similar to exp(pi*sqrt(-1)) (which is 1) in every way except that it's a completely stupid and arbitrary expression.

Re:Ironically (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276714)

Didn't you notice something weird about the second expression you printed? Like the .000000? Try computing exp(pi*sqrt(N)) for other values of N to a lot of decimal places.

Re:Ironically (1)

xihr (556141) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276727)

You know, the ancient Greeks had the basic idea long before Dalton. Their arguments were obviously not based on experimentation, but they were reasonably compelling philosophical arguments why there must be elementary bits of matter. And that was a lot longer than 200 years ago.

Re:Ironically (2, Insightful)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276880)

I think the crucial point is that the atoms themselves aren't the interesting thing and that's why it's not really worth crediting Democritus and Co. The crucial thing that Dalton did was come up with numbers that turn into testable hypotheses.

When any Ancient Greeks argued for the existence of atoms they were saying more about themselves than about the universe. They were revealing that many humans have a problem with the concept of a continuum and prefer everything to be made out of discrete parts. This isn't a property of the universe, it's a property of human minds. If you read Nietzsche then at one point he argues that atomic theory was incorrect even though, at that point, the evidence was stacked against him. I think that what he was actually attacking was this human psychological need to believe in Atomism. In fact Nietzsche supported a quite different vortex theory that you could argue looks more like quantum mechanics. But at the end of the day this is all waffle. What matters are the numbers and that's what Dalton computed.

Now for the rest of them (1)

omibus (116064) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276173)

Now if we could just quantify the rest of the psudo-sciences!! e.g. Psycology, Sociology, and the like.

Re:Now for the rest of them (1)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276311)

Psychology and Sociology (one small one large) can be quantified as the neural electrical feedback on sensory input and motor output between individuals and/or environment. When those sensory input and motor output and the feedback process can be quantified to a acceptable precision. Psychology and Sociology becomes a quantifiable science.

To Seargant Pepper (3, Funny)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276289)

200 years ago today
Mr Dalton taught the world to say
that our matter's an atomic pile

and it changed our scientific style.

So let me introduce to you
Common, lets give a cheer!
particle physics and nuclear chemistry!

(RIAA note: satire makes for fair use, so there!)

Re:To Seargant Pepper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7277278)

Penny-Arcade Note: Parody makes fair use. And Parody is only a satire of the original work. Using a work to joke about something completely different is an unprotected satire.

Common-Sense Note: No reasonable person gives a flying fuck about your post script. The comment was funny even though you mispeled Sergeant.

Aw, shucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276352)

Here I thought they meant Ray Palmer.

Or maybe Al Pratt.

Sorry...I just couldn't resist...

what about atom and his package (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276554)

http://www.atomandhispackage.com/

200 years old? Try 2400. (4, Informative)

espo812 (261758) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276615)

I just had a western civilization exam today. So to make up for my poor score on the test itself, I will attempt to impart something I actually did learn in the class (that was not tested). To quote my text:

[...] the philosopher Democritus (b. ca. 460 B.C.) [...] concluded that all things consisted of tiny, indivisible particles, which could be arranged and rearranged in an infinate variety of configurations. He called these particles
atoma, "the uncuttable" (from which the word atom is derived).
So, this puts the atom at abount 2400 years old.

Today's my birthday also! (1)

sokodude (717958) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276746)

Happy 18th birthday to me. here's to gambling, strippers, and cigarettes
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