John Dalton and the Atomic Theory
Born in obscurity to a Quaker family in England in 1766, John Dalton would eventually become one of the most famous scientists of the nineteenth century. When he died in 1844, more than 40,000 people in his adopted city of Manchester, England, turned out to honor him. The master of his own school at the age of 12, he had a curiosity about the world around him for his entire life. This curiosity led him to spend many hours in research in a wide variety of subjects. Eventually that research focused on the question of what all the things in the world were made of. He had a startling answer: atoms. Even though he couldn t see them, he was able to calculate their weight and the way in which they interacted with other atoms. Controversial for many years, his atomic theory eventually formed one of the cornerstones of modern chemistry and physics.