The Organization of Matter

  • Marie Boas Hall
Part of the The Documentary History of Western Civilization book series (DHWC)


Ideas about the structure of matter have always been investigated by both the physicist and the chemist, the former speculating about the fine structure of matter, the building up of its structure to make what we see, the latter about the behavior of matter in chemical operations. Until the seventeenth century these two aspects of the study of matter had little in common; but, in the course of the scientific revolution, both physicist and chemist learned to appreciate to some extent the advantages of a mutual apprehension of the interests and discoveries of the rational chemist and the natural philosopher. Although the two aspects are divided in the selections below, it will be obvious that some are only arbitrarily in one section or the other and could be moved without any significant disturbance.


Caustic Alkali Mercuric Oxide Mechanical Philosophy Subtle Matter Terrestrial Body 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marie Boas Hall

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