The Chemical History of a Candle

Courier Corporation
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One of the greatest experimental scientists of all time, Michael Faraday (1791–1867) developed the first electric motor, electric generator, and dynamo — essentially creating the science of electrochemistry. This book, the result of six lectures he delivered to young students at London’s Royal Institution, concerns another form of energy — candlelight.
Faraday titled the lectures "The Chemical History of a Candle," choosing the subject because, as he explained, "There is not a law under which any part of this universe is governed which does not come into play and is not touched upon [during the time a candle burns]."
That statement is the foundation for a book that describes, with great clarity, the components, function and weight of the atmosphere; the function of a candle wick; capillary attraction; the carbon content in oxygen and living bodies; the production of carbon dioxide from coal gas and sugar; the properties of carbonic acid; respiration and its analogy to the burning of a candle; and much more. There is also a chapter comprising Faraday's "Lecture on Platinum."
A useful classroom teaching tool, this classic text will also appeal to a wide audience interested in scientific inquiry.

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About the author

One of the greatest experimental scientists of all time, Michael Faraday (1791-1867) essentially created the science of electrochemistry,developing the first electric motor, electric generator, and dynamo.

Michael Faraday: An Electric Personality
A major figure in nineteenth-century science, Michael Faraday (1791–1867) made immense contributions to the study of electricity and magnetism, discovering the laws of electromagnetic induction and electrolysis. His experiments are the foundation of subsequent electromagnetic technology. He also had a sense of humor. When the Prime Minister of England William Gladstone asked Faraday what the usefulness of electricity would be, Faraday famously replied, "Why, Sir, there is every possibility that you will soon be able to tax it!" In addition to being a great experimenter, Faraday had the gift of exposition for a popular audience, as seen in the books which Dover has reprinted, The Forces of Matter (2010), Experimental Researches in Electricity (2004), and perhaps his most famous single book for the general reader, The Chemical History of a Candle (2003).

It is reliably reported that Einstein had a photograph of Faraday on the wall of his study alongside portraits of Isaac Newton and James Clerk Maxwell.

In the Author's Own Words:

"The world little knows how many of the thoughts and theories which have passed through the mind of a scientific investigator have been crushed in silence and secrecy by his own severe criticism and adverse examination: that in the most successful instances not a tenth of the suggestions, the hopes, the wishes, the preliminary conclusions have been realized." — Michael Faraday

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Additional Information

Publisher
Courier Corporation
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Published on
Aug 28, 2012
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9780486171142
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Chemistry / Organic
Science / Natural History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The debt of modern chemistry to Antoine Lavoisier (1743–1794) is incalculable. With Lavoisier's discoveries of the compositions of air and water (he gave the world the term 'oxygen') and his analysis of the process of combustion, he was able to bury once and for all the then prevalent phlogiston doctrine. He also recognized chemical elements as the ultimate residues of chemical analysis and, with others, worked out the beginnings of the modern system of nomenclature. His premature death at the hands of a Revolutionary tribunal is undoubtedly one of the saddest losses in the history of science.
Lavoisier's theories were promulgated widely by a work he published in 1789: Traité élémentairede Chimie. The famous English translation by Robert Kerr was issued a year later. Incorporating the notions of the "new chemistry," the book carefully describes the experiments and reasoning which led Lavoisier to his conclusions, conclusions which were generally accepted by the scientific community almost immediately. It is not too much to claim that Lavoisier's Traité did for chemistry what Newton's Principia did for physics, and that Lavoisier founded modern chemistry.
Part One of the Traité covers the composition of the atmosphere and water, and related experiments, one of which (on vinous fermentation) permits Lavoisier to make the first explicit statement of the law of the conservation of matter in chemical change. The second part deals with the compounds of acids with various bases, giving extensive tables of compounds. Its most significant item, however, is the table of simple substances or elements — the first modern list of the chemical elements. The third section of the book reviews in minute detail the apparatus and instruments of chemistry and their uses. Some of these instruments, etc. are illustrated in the section of plates at the end.
This new facsimile edition is enhanced by an introductory essay by Douglas McKie, University College London, one of the world's most eminent historians of science. Prof. McKie gives an excellent survey of historical developments in chemistry leading up to the Traité, Lavoisier's major contributions, his work in other fields, and offers a critical evaluation of the importance of this book and Lavoisier's role in the history of chemistry. This new essay helps to make this an authoritative, contemporary English-language edition of one of the supreme classics of science.
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