Elegant Solutions - Ten Beautiful Experiments in Chemistry by P. Ball

By P. Ball

Devising and appearing a systematic scan is an paintings, and it's normal to listen to scientists discuss the 'beauty' of an scan. What does this suggest in chemistry, the experimental technology par excellence? And what are the main appealing chemical experiments of all time? This e-book deals ten feedback for the place attractiveness may well stay in experimental chemistry. from time to time the wonder lies within the readability of notion; occasionally it's a characteristic of the instrumental layout. yet for chemistry, there is usually a special attractiveness within the method atoms are prepare to make new molecules, elements now not identified in nature. the 10 experiments defined right here provide a window into the best way that chemists imagine and paintings, and the way what they do impacts the remainder of technological know-how and the broader global.

This ebook goals to stimulate the reader to imagine anew approximately the various relationships and ameliorations among technological know-how and artwork, and to problem the various universal notions approximately specific 'famous experiments'.

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But while Cavendish was able to eliminate nearly all of the phlogisticated component of common air, he remarked that there always seemed to be a tiny bit of ‘air’ left, which appeared as a recalcitrant 36 Chapter 2 bubble in his experiments. This seemed to make up just 1=120 part of common air, and Cavendish suspected that it was just the consequence of his experimental inadequacies. All the same, he wrote down his observations and Wilson mentioned them in the biography. Some years later, an English chemistry student named William Ramsay bought a second-hand copy of Wilson’s book and read about the mysterious bubble.

Cavendish, Watt, Lavoisier and Monge have all been put forward as candidates. The debate raged heatedly in the mid-nineteenth century, when it centred on Watt’s rival claim. His case was argued forcefully by Franc¸ois Arago, secretary of An Element Compounded 35 the French Acade´mie des Sciences, in his Eloge de James Watt, and Lord Brougham and Watt’s son James Watt Jr added their voices to this appeal. In response, William Vernon Harcourt, in his address as president-elect to the British Association for the Advancement of Science in Birmingham in August 1839, vehemently asserted Cavendish’s priority – a speech that left some members of the audience bristling, for Watt the engineer was a hero in the industrial Midlands of England.

Black’s fixed air was such a gas, and inflammable air was another. Cavendish was not content with noting that this latter air went pop when ignited; he reported careful measurements showing that it was 8700 times lighter than water and capable of holding ‘1/9 its weight of moisture’. This kind of detail reveals the way Cavendish thought about experiments. His laboratory, housed within the grounds of his ample townhouse in Great Marlborough Street, near Piccadilly in London, was filled with measuring devices.

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