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Paula Eunice M.

Ferrer
ABM-2
JOHN DALTON AND HIS CONTRIBUTIONS

Born in September 1766, John Dalton was an


English scientist who did pioneering work in
the fields of chemistry and meteorology. He
was the first to publish a paper on colour
blindness and also provided great new
insights into the nature of gases. He was
renowned during his life though the
enormous nature of his contribution was
realized with further advancements in
science. Here are the 10 major
accomplishments of John Dalton including
his remarkable contribution to chemistry
and meteorology.

JOHN DALTONS 10 MAJOR CONTRIBUTIONS AND


ACCOMPLISHMENTS
#1 He made several remarkable meteorological observations in his first
published work

Daltons first major achievements were in meteorology, the scientific study of


atmosphere. In 1793, Meteorological Observations and Essays became his first
published work. It asserted for the first time that water vapour existed
independently in air and didnt combine chemically with other atmospheric gases.
It also contained his study of aurora borealis which detected the magnetic relation
of the phenomenon and concluded its light to be of purely electrical origin. Dalton
made important contributions to meteorology throughout his scientific career and
was called the Father of Meteorology by John Frederic Daniell.

#2 John Dalton published the first ever paper on colour blindness


John Dalton was colour blind and so was his elder brother Jonathan Dalton. In his
1794 paper Extraordinary facts relating to the vision of colours Dalton described
the defect he had discovered in his own and his brothers vision. This paper was
the first publication on colour blindness. Though Dalton correctly recognized that
the deficiency was hereditary, his theory regarding it was incorrect. Still colour
blindness is sometimes referred to as Daltonism as he was the first scientist to
thoroughly investigate the defect.

#3 John Dalton did pioneering work in hydrology

Daltons 1799 paper proposed after research and estimated calculations that the
quantity of rain and dew are equal to the quantity of water carried off by
evaporation and by the rivers. It also contained the earliest definition of the dew-
point and settled for all practically purposes the controversy over the origin of
springs by his conclusion that they are fed by rain. This paper was an important
step in the development of quantitative hydrological cycles. Due to John Daltons
contribution, the Dalton Medal is given to hydrologists by the European
Geophysical Society for distinguished research in the field.

#4 He provided great new insights into the nature of gases

In 1802, John Daltons ground-breaking research, which provided great new


insights on the nature of gases, was published. In it he noted correctly that all
gases could be liquefied provided their temperature was sufficiently low and
pressure sufficiently high; and that all gases expand the same quantity by heat. He
also came up with what is known as Daltons law of evaporation. It states that the
rate of evaporation is proportional to
the difference between the saturation vapour
pressure at water temperature and the
actual vapour pressure in air.
#5 He observed what is known as Daltons Law of Partial Pressures

In 1801, John Dalton found that volume of all gases he studied increased
proportionally with rise in temperature when pressure was held constant (VT at
constant P). The law however bears the name of French scientist Jacques Charles,
who had formulated it earlier but never published the results. In 1803, Dalton
published his Law of Partial Pressures, which states that in a mixture of non-
reacting gases, the total pressure exerted is equal to the sum of the partial
pressures of the individual gases. Also known as Daltons Law, it is commonly
applied in looking at the pressure of a closed container of gas and water.

#6 His law of multiple proportions is one of the basic laws of Stoichiometry

Two important laws dealing with


chemical reactions emerged near
the end of the 18th century
Antoine Lavoisiers law of
conservation of mass and Joseph
Prousts law of definite
proportions. Through the study
of these laws and experimentation John Dalton developed his law of multiple
proportions, which states that if two elements can be combined to form a number
of possible compounds, then the ratios of the masses of the second element
which combine with a fixed mass of the first element will be ratios of small whole
numbers. The three laws mentioned above form the basis of Stoichiometry, i.e.
the calculation of relative quantities of reactants and products in chemical
reactions.
#7 He proposed the first truly scientific atomic theory

Daltons law of multiple proportions, which he


announced in 1803, became the basis for his
famous Atomic Theory which he proposed later
that year. The 5 main points of Daltons atomic
theory are: elements are made of extremely small
particles called atoms; atoms of a particular
element are identical; atoms cannot be created,
destroyed or split; atoms of different elements
combine in simple whole-number ratios to form
chemical compounds; and in a chemical reaction,
atoms link to one another, or separate from one
another. Daltons theory was the first truly
scientific theory of the atom reached through analysis and experimentation.

#8 Daltons Atomic Theory laid the foundation of modern chemistry

Though later research found that atoms of the


same element are not necessarily identical as
they can have different masses (isotopes) and
that atoms can be split in nuclear reactions;
Daltons atomic theory holds good in several
aspects even today and it remains valid for
chemical reactions. Also Daltons theory laid the
foundation of
modern
chemistry and
the basis on
which future scientists made numerous
other highly significant discoveries.
#9 Dalton was the first to calculate relative atomic weights

On the basis of his atomic theory, John Dalton calculated the first relative weights
of atoms. He estimated the atomic weights according to the mass ratios in which
they combined; with the hydrogen atom taken as unity. He proceeded to print the
first published table of relative atomic weights. Published in 1803, his first list
contained only 6 elements. This was followed by a 20 elements list in 1808 and a
36 element list in 1827. In the long run atomic weights would provide the key
means of organizing elements into the periodic table.

#10 He received several honours including the Royal Medal

John Dalton served as president of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical


society (the Lit & Phil) from 1817 till his death. In 1822, he was made a fellow of
the Royal Society of London and in 1826 he was awarded the Societys Royal
Medal for his Atomic Theory. In 1830, Dalton was elected one of only eight foreign
members of the French Academy of Sciences and in 1834 he was elected a Foreign
Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Also Francis
Leggatt Chantreys statue of him made John Dalton probably the only scientist
who got a statue in his lifetime.