7. Particles, Waves, and     Paradoxes   Previous PageNext Page

Kekule's flash of inspiration about the flat ring structures for benzene and other aromatic molecules was as much of a turning point for organic chemistry as Dalton's atoms had been a century earlier for chemistry in general.

Organic chemistry, considered as the art of knowing what valuable dyes and drugs could be extracted from what natural or synthetic sources, was doing well in Germany, but chemistry remained principally a body of empirical knowledge. It was as much a trade as a science.

The British scientist Lord Rutherford expressed the disdain of the physicist for such empirical sciences, by dividing all science arrogantly into two branches: physics and stamp collecting.

At the turn of the century, the field of chemistry was a large and loose stamp collection without an album.

Top right: FRIEDRICH AUGUST KEKULÉ (1829 - 1896)
Bottom right: LORD ERNEST RUTHERFORD (1871 - 1937)

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