History of atoms

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  • Created on: 26-09-15 11:43

Development of Ideas About Atoms

The ancient Greeks had ideas about atoms. In fact the word ‘atom’ comes form the ancient Greek word ‘atomos’ which means ‘indivisible’. In ancient Greece they had a philosopher, Demokritos, he said that all matter could be divided and sub-divided into smaller and smaller units. Eventually there would be one tiny particle that couldn’t be divided, this was an atom. This was most impressive as there was no way of the ancient Greeks supporting this theory as they could not see the atom with the naked eye.

Around the same time as the ancient Greeks were developing ideas about atoms the ancient Indian philosophers were thinking about the building blocks of matter as well. The Indian philosophers developed theories of fundamental objects by logic. They eventually decided that fundamental building blocks (atoms) existed. There were three different schools of thought and each school had slightly different ideas and concepts.

Nyaya-Vaisesika was one of the schools of thought, in this school they said that atoms were indivisible and could not be divided into smaller objects. They were so so tiny that people could not see them. Three or more atoms had to combing so that the human eye could see them. There were four fundamental substances, earth, air, fire and water. Each of these substances had properties like touch, odour, colour and flavour On top of that earth and water also had weight. Also they said that atoms are linked to human actions. So in this school of thought they linked atoms with time, space, the soul and thoughts.

The second school of thought was called Buddhist. They stuck to the basic idea of four different types of atoms. They also believed you could combine atoms, for them the minimum number  of atoms was about seven. They thought that you could only


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