Dalton, John

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Dalton, John

John Dalton (dôl´tən), 1766–1844, English scientist. He revived the atomic theory (see atom), which he formulated in the first volume of his New System of Chemical Philosophy (2 vol., 1808–27). He had already applied the concept to a table of atomic weights (1803), in a paper (1805) on the absorption of gases, and in developing his famous law of partial pressures, known also as Dalton's law. His interest in weather conditions led him to keep daily records from 1787 and to write Meteorological Observations and Essays (1793). Dalton, himself afflicted with color blindness, investigated (c.1794) the condition, known also as Daltonism. From 1793 he taught mathematics and physical sciences at New College, Manchester. He was a member of the Royal Society (from 1822) and in 1825 received its medal for his work on the atomic theory.

See study by A. Thackray (1972).

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