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History of Chemistry Timeline

 Ancient Alchemy 3000 B.C. to 800 A.D

 c. 3000 B.C. – Egyptians formulate the theory of the Ogdoad, or the
“primordial forces”, from which all was formed. These were the elements of
chaos that existed before the creation of the sun
 c. 1900 B.C. – Hermes Trismegistus, semi-mythical Egyptian king, who is
supposed to have founded of the art of alchemy
 c. 450 B.C. – Empedocles asserts that all things are composed of four primal
elements – earth, air, fire, and water, whereby two active and opposing forces,
love and hate, or affinity and antipathy, act upon these elements, combining
and separating them into infinitely varied forms
 c. 440 B.C. – Democritus propose the idea of the atom, an indivisible particle
that all matter is made of
 c. 360 B.C. – Plato coins term ‘elements’ and postulates that the minute
particle of each element had a special geometric shape – tetrahedron for fire;
octahedron for air; icosahedron for water; and cube for earth)
 c. 350 B.C. – Aristotle articulates his theory of the Five Elements, fire, water,
earth, air, and ether

 0 A.D. – Common Era after the Birth of Christ Begins

 c. 300 – Zosimos of Panopolis writes some of the oldest known books on


 Classical Alchemy 800 A.D. to 1661

 c. 815 – Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan isolates numerous acids, including
hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, citric acid, acetic acid, tartaric acid, and aqua
 c. 900 – Abū Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakarīya al-Rāzi publishes several
treatises on chemistry, including some of the earliest descriptions of
controlled distillation and extraction methods
 c. 1220 – Robert Grosseteste publishes several Aristotelian commentaries
where he lays out an early framework for the scientific method
 c. 1267 – Roger Bacon publishes Opus Maius, proposing the scientific method
and results of his experiments with gunpowder
 c. 1530 – Paracelsus developes the study of iatrochemistry, a subdiscipline of
alchemy dedicated to extending the life
 1597 – Andreas Libavius publishes Alchemia, a prototype chemistry textbook
 1605 – Sir Francis Bacon publishes The Proficience and Advancement of
Learning, containing an outline of the scientific method
 1605 – Michał Sędziwój publishes the alchemical treatise A New Light of
Alchemy, proposing the existence of the "food of life" within air
 1615 – Jean Beguin publishes the early chemistry textbook, Tyrocinium
Chymicum, with the first-ever chemical equation 2
 1637 – René Descartes publishes Discours de la Méthode, containing an
outline of the scientific method
 1648 – Publication of the Johann Baptista van Helmont’s book Ortus
Medicinae a major transitional work between alchemy and chemistry, and
which also influences Robert Boyle. The book shows the results of
experiments and establishes an early version of the Law of Conservation of

 The Modern Chemistry Era 1661 to Present

 1661 – Robert Boyle publishes The Sceptical Chymist, a treatise on the

distinction between chemistry and alchemy
 1662 – Robert Boyle proposes Boyle's Law on the behavior of gases • 1754 –
Joseph Black isolates carbon dioxide
 1758 – Joseph Black formulates the concept of latent heat to explain the
thermochemistry of phase changes
 1773-1774 – Carl Wilhelm Scheele and Joseph Priestly independantly isolate
 1778 – Antoine Lavoisier recognizes and names oxygen, and recognizes its
importance and role in combustion
 1787 – Antoine Lavoisier publishes Méthode de Nomenclature Chimique, the
first modern system of chemical nomenclature
 1787 – Jacques Charles proposes a corollary to Boyle’s Law, which he names
Charles's Law, describing the relationship between temperature and volume of
a gas
 1789 – Antoine Lavoisier publishes the first modern chemistry textbook,
Traité Élémentaire de Chimie
 1797 – Joseph Proust proposes Law of Definite Proportions, which states that
elements always combine in small, whole number ratios to form compounds
 1800 – Alessandro Volta makes the first chemical battery
 1803 – John Dalton proposes Dalton's Law, which describes relationship
between the components in a mixture of gases and the relative pressure each
contributes to that of the overall mixture
 1805 – Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac discovers that water is composed of two
parts hydrogen and one part oxygen
 1807-1808 – Sir Humphry Davy uses electrolysis to isolate numerous
elements, including potassium, sodium, calcium, strontium, barium, chlorine
and the first discovery of aluminum
 1808 – John Dalton publishes New System of Chemical Philosophy, which
contains first modern scientific description of the atomic theory
 1808 – Jöns Jakob Berzelius publishes Lärboki Kemien in which he proposes
modern chemical symbols and notation, and of the concept of relative atomic
 1811 – Amedeo Avogadro proposes Avogadro's law, that equal volumes of
gases contain equal numbers of particles
 1825 – Michael Faraday isolates benzene 3
 1828 – Friedrich Wöhler synthesizes urea, thereby establishing that organic
compounds could be produced from inorganic starting materials, disproving
the theory of “vital life force”
 1840 – Germain Hess proposes Hess's Law, an early statement of the Law of
conservation of energy
 1847 – Hermann Kolbe obtains acetic acid from completely inorganic sources
 1848 – Lord Kelvin establishes concept of absolute zero, the temperature at
which all molecular motion ceases
 1849 – Louis Pasteur discovers chirality and in tartaric acid, starting the study
of stereochemistry
 1855 – Benjamin Silliman, Jr. pioneers methods of petroleum cracking, which
makes the entire modern petrochemical industry possible
 1856 – William Henry Perkin synthesizes the first synthetic dye
 1862 – Alexander Parkes exhibits Parkesine, one of the earliest synthetic
 1865 – Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz establishes structure of
benzene as a six carbon ring
 1865 – Adolf von Baeyer begins work on indigo dye, a milestone in modern
industrial organic chemistry which revolutionizes the dye industry
 1869 – Dmitri Mendeleev publishes the first modern periodic table
 1883 – Svante Arrhenius developes ion theory to explain conductivity in
 1884 – Henry Louis Le Chatelier develops Le Chatelier's principle, which
explains the response of dynamic chemical equilibria to external stresses
 1894-1898 – William Ramsay discovers the noble gases
 1903 – Mikhail Semyonovich Tsvet invents chromatography
 1905 – Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch develop the Haber process for making
 1907 – Leo Hendrik Baekeland inventes bakelite, one of the first
commercially successful plastics
 1909 – Ernest Rutherford, Hans Geiger, and Ernest Marsden perform the Gold
foil experiment, which proves the nuclear model of the atom, with a small,
dense, positive nucleus surrounded by a diffuse electron cloud
 1909 – Robert Millikan performs the Oil drop experiment, which confirms the
existence of electron as the quanta of electric charge, and determines
charge/mass ratio of an electron
 1909 – S. P. L. Sørensen invents the pH concept and develops methods for
measuring acidity
 1912 – William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg proposes Bragg's
law and establishes the field of X-ray crystallography
 1913 – Niels Bohr introduces concepts of quantum mechanics to atomic
structure by proposing what is now known as the Bohr model of the atom
 1913 – Frederick Soddy proposes the concept of isotopes, that elements with
the same chemical properties may have differing atomic weights
 1916 – Gilbert N. Lewis publishes The Atom and the Molecule, the
foundation of valence bond theory 4
 1921 – Otto Stern and Walther Gerlach establish concept of quantum
mechanical spin in subatomic particles
 1923 – Gilbert N. Lewis and Merle Randall publish Thermodynamics and the
Free Energy of Chemical Substances, first modern treatise on chemical
 1923 – Gilbert N. Lewis develops the electron pair theory of acid/base
 1935 – Wallace Carothers leads a team of chemists at DuPont who invent
 1932 – Linus Pauling first describes the property of electronegativity as a
means of predicting the dipole moment of a chemical bond
 1937 – Carlo Perrier and Emilio Segrè perform the first confirmed synthesis
of technetium-97, the first artificially produced element
 1937 – Eugene Houdry develops a method of industrial scale catalytic
cracking of petroleum, leading to the development of the first modern oil
 1939 – Linus Pauling publishes The Nature of the Chemical Bond, one of the
most important modern chemical texts
 1945-1946 – Felix Bloch and Edward Mills Purcell develop the process of
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, an analytical technique important in elucidating
structures of molecules, especially in organic chemistry
 1952 – Robert Burns Woodward, Geoffrey Wilkinson, and Ernst Otto Fischer
discover the structure of ferrocene, one of the founding discoveries of the field
of organometallic chemistry
 1962 – Neil Bartlett synthesizes xenon hexafluoroplatinate, showing for the
first time that the noble gases can form chemical compounds
 1985 – Harold Kroto, Robert Curl and Richard Smalley discover fullerenes, a
class of large carbon molecules superficially resembling the geodesic dome
designed by architect R. Buckminster Fuller
 1995 – Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman produce the first Bose–Einstein
condensate, a substance that displays quantum mechanical properties on the
macroscopic scale

 Organic Chemistry

 465 – Democritus first to propose that matter exists in the form of particles.
Coined the term ‘atoms’.
 1600 – Litmus Paper was invented. Beckman invented a certain type of litmus
paper, but it was brought into general use first in the 1600's by Robert Boyle.
 1771 – Joseph Priestley demonstrated that plants produce a gas that animals
and flames consume. Those two gases are carbon dioxide and oxygen.
 1828 – Friedrich Woehler synthesized urea which was the first synthesis of an
organic compound from inorganic starting materials.
 1865 – Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz realized that benzene is
composed of carbon and hydrogen atoms in a hexagonal ring.
 1874 – Jacobus van’t Hoff and Joseph-Achille Le Bel advanced a three-
dimensional stereochemical representation of organic molecules and propose a
tetrahedral carbon atom.
 1906 – Mikhail Tsvet discovered the chromatography technique for organic
compound separation.
 1919 – IUPAC was established in 1919 as the successor of the International
Congress of Applied Chemistry for the advancement of chemistry.
 1940 – Carbon was discovered on 27 February 1940, by Martin Kamen and
Sam Ruben at the University of California Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley,
although its existence had been suggested by Franz Kurie in 1934.

o 1776 – Methane first discovered by Alessandro Volta. Has a melting

point of: -182°C and a boiling point of: -161°C. Density is 0.4g/mL
o 1828 – Friedrich Woehler synthesizes urea; first synthesis of an
organic compound from inorganic starting materials.
o 1832 – Friedrich Woehler and Justus von Liebig discover and explain
functional groups and radicals in relation to organic chemistry.
o 1834 – Ethane first synthesized by Michael Faraday. Has a melting
point of: -182°C and a boiling point of: -88°C. Density is 0.5g/mL
o 1847 – Hermann Kolbe obtains acetic acid from completely inorganic
sources, further disproving vitalism.
o 1855 – Formic Acid synthesized by Marccellin Berthelots from
inorganic monoxide. Has a melting point of: -8.4°C and a boiling point
of: -101°C. Density is 1.2g/mL
o 1858 – August Kekule suggests that tetravalent carbon atoms could
link to each other to form a carbon lattice, creating detailed patterns of
atomic bonding.
o 1859 – Formaldehyde Mar identified by Aleksandr Butlerov. Has a
melting point of: -92°C and a boiling point of: -19°C. Density is
o 1865 – August Kekule publishes a paper suggesting the structure of
o 1910 – Propane was first identified as a volatile component in gasoline
by Walter O. Snelling. Has a melting point of: -188°C and a boiling
point of: -42°C. Density is 1.55g/mL.
o 1919 – IUPAC is established as the successor of the International
Congress of Applied Chemistry for the advancement of chemistry.

Shaina Irish M. Recosana

Project in Consumer Chemistry