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Ancient History of Atoms
History of Atoms
Since some of the earliest civilizations, man has pondered our existence and while religion dominated as the most obvious and sole explanation to many, a few thought the story might be a bit more complicated. Leucippus, an inhabitant of ancient Greece, is generally accepted as the first to suggest the idea of atoms. Leucippus thought the universe consists of two elements: the full/solid and the empty/void and he believed they were infinite. His views were expounded upon by Democritus, another Greek philosopher (and his student).
Democritus believed in an infinite universe with infinite worlds. He thought these infinite worlds were spaced at different distances from each other, and he thought they were destroyed when they collided with each other. He believed some planets were devoid of life, while others had an abundance.
According to Democritus
“Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion”--Democritus
1. Atoms cannot be destroyed.
2. Atoms exist in a void.
3. Atoms are too small to be perceived by the senses.
4. Atoms have varying shapes.
5. Atoms can group together to create things we can perceive with our senses.
6. Shape, arrangement, and position of atoms cause different things to be formed.
7. Atoms cannot be divided.
8. Atoms are always in motion in space.
Future of Atomic Theory
Unfortunately, Leucippus and Democritus' ideas were far too advanced for their time. The Greeks dismissed the notion of atoms, and there was little more serious consideration of atomic theory for a long time.