FROM THE RESEARCH ON THE HISTORY OF CHEMICAL ATOMIC THEORY. ON THE 150th ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF JONS JACOB BERZELIUS (1779-1848)
The paper deals with the work of the Swedish scientist Jons Jacob Berzelius, one of the most eminent chemists of the first half of the 19th century in Europe, and is devoted to selected aspects of his attitude towards the chemical atomic theory proposed by John Dalton in the first decade of the 19th century. The article presents the sources of Berzelius's interest in the chemical atomic theory. Among the more indirect of such sources the author names the classical philosophical atomism represented by Leucippus, Democritus, Epicurus or Lucretius, as well as modern philosophical atomist ideas which can be extracted from the works of P. Gassendi, R. Boyle, or I. Newton. The direct sources of Berzelius's interest in the theory include the quantitative studies made by chemists such as G. E. Stahl, W. Homberg, E. F. Geoffroy, T. Bcrgman, C. F. Wenzel. R. Kirwan, A. L. Lavoisier, A. F. de Fourcroy, L. B. Guyton de Morveau, J. B. Richter, C. L. Berthollet, J. L. Proust, W. Higgins, J. Dalton as well as many other scientists. The article also mentions the influence on Berzelius's work of such Scandinavian scientists as A. W. Hauch, H. C. Oersted, P. C. Abildgard, E. Wilberg, J. Svedberg, C. M. Arrhenius. The article contains an extensive analysis of Berzelius's views on Dalton's version of chemical atomic theory. The analysis leads the author to conclude that Berzelius was a scientist who made a critically contribution to Dalton's theory. He also points out that the theoretical and empirical heritage of Berzelius surpasses by far the analogous achievements of Dalton.