JANS JACOB BERZELIUS (1779-1848)

1840 – Sweden

‘An element can exist in two or more forms with different properties’

The various forms are known as allotropes. Graphite, diamond and buckyballs are three crystalline allotropes of carbon.

Berzelius contributed more than just allotropes to chemistry. When DALTON revived the idea of the atom as the unit of matter, he used circular symbols to represent atoms. Berzelius discarded Dalton’s cumbersome system and in its place introduced a rational system of chemical shorthand.

He declared ‘I shall take as the chemical sign the initial letter of the Latin name of each element. If the first two letters be common to two elements I shall use both the initial letter and the first letter they have not in common’.

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3 thoughts on “JANS JACOB BERZELIUS (1779-1848)

  1. Pingback: CHARLES BABBAGE (1791-1871) ADA LOVELACE (1815- 52) | A History of Science

  2. Pingback: THOMAS GRAHAM (1805- 69) | A History of Science

  3. Pingback: ROBERT BROWN (1773-1858) | A History of Science

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