Atomic theory proposed by John Dalton
Dalton's theory was based on the premise that the atoms of different elements could be distinguished by differences in their weights. He stated his theory in a lecture to the Royal Institution in 1803. The theory proposed a number of basic ideas: All matter is composed of atoms Atoms cannot be made or destroyed All atoms of the same element are identical Different elements have different types of atoms Chemical reactions occur when atoms are rearranged Compounds are formed from atoms of the constituent elements. Using his theory, Dalton rationalised the various laws of chemical combination which were in existence at that time. However, he made a mistake in assuming that the simplest compound of two elements must be binary, formed from atoms of each element in a 1:1 ratio, and his system of atomic weights was not very accurate - he gave oxygen an atomic weight of seven instead of eight. Despite these errors, Dalton's theory provided a logical explanation of concepts, and led the way into new fields of experimentation.
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