Before we had atomic force microscopes, the existence of
atoms and molecules had to be deduced from chemical experiments.
Dalton was the first to assemble the evidence into a
complete theory, and the first to prepare a table of the atomic
weights of known elements and molecules. As a poet, I am impressed
that he invented an alphabet to symbolize the elements and
molecules. These are more interesting and artistic than the
two-letter chemical symbols based on the Greek that we use today.
My editorial insertion is the parenthetical “(by
chemical processes)” in the list of Dalton’s claims,
since we know now that an atom may be destroyed.
Around 1787, Dalton rediscovered George Hadley’s theory
about trade winds. In 1801 he published a book on English grammar.
Dalton suffered a less common form of color-blindness, deuteranopia,
and was the first to describe and explain color blindness,
proposing that it was due to a discoloration of the liquid medium
of the eyeball, which was wrong. In his honor color blindness is
sometimes called Daltonism, and the unit of atomic mass
See also in The book of science:
You can find lots of information about John Dalton and