Dalton’s Atomic Theory (DAT) was a major contribution to the field of chemistry. DAT is based on five assumptions regarding the nature of the world’s smallest molecules. The first hypothesis of this theory suggests that all matter consists of atoms, invisible particles that cannot be observed due to their minuscule size (Wenley & Grifiths, 2016). As such, the atom is proposed to be the core molecule used to construct other substances and materials (Wenley & Grifiths, 2016).
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This assumption is integral not only for understanding the structure of physical objects but also for supporting the subsequent hypotheses, which hinge on the idea of atoms. Considering that each following assumption relies on atoms as indistinguishable components of an item, the first suggestion of DAT must be included in the framework to corroborate the next propositions.
It is essential to note that Dalton’s Atomic Theory incorporates some of the historical and experimental data about the smallest molecules prominent during his lifetime. As such, the idea of atoms as core particles has been first introduced by Democritus between 460 to 370 BC (Wenley & Grifiths, 2016). After that, the scholar was also influenced by empirical evidence, such as the laws of conservation of mass and constant composition. Based on these laws, Dalton proposed that there is a specific amount of core particles that are contained within a given object, substance, or gas (Wenley & Grifiths, 2016).
This idea also helped to substantiate the mentioned laws, as well as significantly contributed to the development of the modern atomic theory. Although the first assumption has been proven wrong by scholars, who established that the atom is divisible, it promoted interest in the smallest particles and their possible contents. Therefore, without the first hypothesis, DAT would probably not exist at all, and modern chemistry would not have inquired into the nature of the atom.
Wenley, R. M., & Grifiths, A. B. (2016). John Dalton: The founder of the modern atomic theory. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.