A chronological list of notable papers and discoveries in chemistry history

(very much under construction; errors are very likely at the moment, and many things are missing)

  • -- ancient understanding of matter
    • via Bailey The Greek Atomists and Epicurus, 1928; “nothing comes from nothing” Empedocles
  • 1300 Arnaldus - litmus
  • 1661 Towneley & Power - Boyle’s law
    • Experimental Philosophy (1663)
  • 1662 Boyle - Boyle’s law
    • “A Defence of the Doctrine Touching the Spring And Weight of the Air”
  • 1704 Newton - properties of light
    • Opticks
  • 1750s Black - heat capacity
  • 1774 Lavoisier - conservation of mass
    • (pre-dated by Lomonosov, Black, Cavendish, and Rey)
  • 1769 Volta
    • De vi attractiva ignis electrici
  • 1785 Coulomb
    • Premier mémoire sur l’électricité et le magnétisme
  • 1791 Galvani
    • De viribus electricitatis
  • 1791 Descroizilles - titration
  • 1799 Proust - law of definite proportions
    • Ann. chim. 32:26-54
  • 1801 Berthollet - law of definite proportions
    • “Recherches sur les lois de l’affinité” (1801)
    • “Essau de statique chimique” (1803)
  • 1802 Charles - Charles’ law
    • credited in Gay-Lussac’s Annales de chimie XLIII 137 (1802)
  • 1802 Young - measure wavelength
    • via Brand Lines of Light (1995)
  • 1803 Carnot
    • Fundamental Principles of Equilibrium and Movement
  • 1805 Dalton - Dalton’s law of partial pressures
    • “Experimental Enquiry into the Proportions of the Several Gases or Elastic Fluids constituting the atmosphere"
  • 1811 Avogadro
    • Journal de Physique 73:58-76
  • 1813 Berzelius - elemental symbols from Latin & faux Latin
  • 1822 de la Tour
    • Annales de chimie et de physique 21:127-132
    • Annales de chimie et de physique 21:178-182
    • Annales de chimie et de physique 22:410-415
  • 1824 Gay-Lussac - improved titration
  • 1834 Clapeyron
    • Journal de l’École Polytechnique XIV:153-90
  • 1834 Sommerville On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences
    • led to term “scientist”
  • 1840 Hess
    • Bulletin scientifique Académie impériale des sciences 8:257-272
  • 1843 Joule
    • Phil. Magazine Series 3, 23:263-276
  • 1847 Helmholtz
    • Über die Erhaltung der Kraft
  • 1850 Clausius
    • Annalen der Physik 155:500-524
  • 1855 Mohr - improved titration
  • 1859 Kirchhoff - blackbody object
  • 1869 Mendeleev - periodic table
  • 1870 Meyer
    • Annalen der Chemie, Supplementband 7:354
  • 1871 Baeyer - phenolphtlaein
    • Berichte der Deut. Chem. Gess. 4(2):555-558
    • Berichte der Deut. Chem. Gess. 4(2):658-665
    • Polytech. Journal 201(89):358-362
  • 1873 van der Waals
    • Over de Continuiteit van den Gas en Vloeistoftoestand
    • reviewed by Maxwell Nature 10(259):477-480 (1874)
  • 1874 van ‘t Hoff
    • La chimie dans l’espace (1874)
    • Études de Dynamique chimique (1884)
  • 1875 Gibbs - enthalpy
  • 1880 Johnson - redox half-reactions
    • Chem. News 42:51
  • 1884 Arrhenius
    • “Recherches sur la conductivité galvanique des électrolytes” Stockholm. P.A. Norstedt
  • 1884 Le Châtelier
    • Comptes rendus 99:786-789
  • 1885 Balmer - Balmer series
    • Annalen der Physik und Chemie 25:80-85
  • 1887 Braun
    • Ann. Phys. 32:1102-1106 (1910)
  • 1888 Nernst - Nernst Eqn.
  • 1889 Arrhenius
    • Z. für Phys. Chemie 4:226
  • 1889 van ‘t Hoff - justified Arrenhius Eqn.
  • 1893 Werner - intermolecular forces?
  • 1895 Röntgen - X-rays
    • Annalen der Physik 300(1):12-17 (1898)
  • 1897 JJ Thomson - cathode rays
    • The Electrician
  • 1898 Curie & Curie - “radioactivity”; polonium, radium
  • 1899 Rutherford - α & β rays
    • Phil. Magazine Series 5, 47(284):109-163
  • 1900 Planck
    • Annalen der Physik 4:553 (1901)
  • 1900 Villard - γ rays
    • Comptes rendus 130:1010-1012
    • Comptes rendus 130:1178-1179
    • named by Rutherford Phil. Magazine Series 6, 5(26):177-187
  • 1904 Nagaoka - Saturnian model of the atom
  • 1904 Abegg
    • Z. anorganische Chemie 39(1):330-380
  • 1905 Einstein
    • Annalen der Physik 17(6):132-148
  • 1905 Nernst
    • The theoretical and experimental bases of the New Heat Theorem (1918, tr. 1926)
  • 1906 Nernst
    • Nachr. Kgl. Ges. Wiss. Gött. No. 1:1-40
  • 1908 Henderson - Henderson–Hasselbach Eqn.
    • Am. J. Phys. 21(2):173-179
    • Am. J. Phys. 21(4):427-448
    • Am. J. Phys. 15:257 (1906)
    • Am. J. Phys. 21:169
  • 1908 Perrin - Avogadro’s constant
  • 1909 Barkla - K, L, M shell labels
    • Philosophical Magazine Series 6 17(101):739-760
  • 1909 Sørensen
    • Biochem. Zeitschr. 21:131-304
  • 1910 Millikan - negative charge of electrons
    • Phys. Mag. XIX 6, p. 209
  • 1911 Rutherford - proton
    • Philosophical Magainze 21:669-688
    • The London, Edinburgh and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, 6th series, 37:581 (1919)
  • 1911 van den Broek - nuclear charge corresponds with periodic position
  • 1912 Debye
    • Physik Z. 13:97
  • 1912 Soddy - “isotope”
    • Nature 92(2301):399-400
    • reply from Rutherford on atomic number importance
    • named by Margaret Todd
    • via Fleck Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 3:203-216 (1957)
  • 1913 Bragg
    • Proc. of the Cambridge Phil. Soc. 17:43-57
  • 1914 Bohr
    • Fyisk Tidskrift 12(97) (Physical Society of Copenhagen)
  • 1915 Clark & Lubs - bromthymol blue
    • J. Wash. Acad. Sci. 5(609)
  • 1916 Lewis
    • J. Am. Chem. Soc. 38:762-785
  • 1917 Hasselbach
    • Biochemische Zeitschr. 78:112-144
  • 1919 Born
    • Verhandl. Deut. Phys. Ges. 21:750
  • 1919 Haber
    • Verhandl. Deut. Phys. Ges. 21:679
  • 1919 Fajans
    • Verhandl. Deut. Phys. Ges. 21:714
  • 1919 Langmuir
    • J. Am. Chem. Soc. 41(6): 868-934
  • 1922 Stern & Gerlach
    • Zeitschrift für Physik A 8(1):110-111
  • 1922 Aston - Isotopes; standardized by IUPAC in 1940
  • 1923 Brønsted & Lowry
    • Recueil des Travaux Chimiques des Pays-Bas 4s:718-728
  • 1923 de Broglie
    • Comptes rendus 177:507-510
  • 1925 Pauli
    • Zeit. Phys. 31:765-783
  • 1926 Schrödinger
    • Phys. Rev. 28(6):1049-1070
  • 1926 Ingold & Ingold δ for partial charge
    • J. Chem. Soc. 1310-1328
  • 1927 Davisson & Germer
    • Nature 119:558-560
  • 1927 G.P. Thomson
    • via Contemporary Physics 9(1):1-15 (1968)
  • 1927 Heisenberg
    • Z. Phys. 43(3-4):172
  • 1927 Hund
    • Linienspektren und periodisches System der Elemente
  • 1927 Heitler & London
    • Z. Phys. 44(6-7):455-472
  • 1927 Jette & La Mer redox half-reactions
    • J. Chem. Ed. 4:1021-1030
    • J. Chem. Ed. 4:1158-1167
  • 1932 Chadwick
    • Proc. Roy. Soc. A 136:692-708
  • 1932 Mulliken
    • Phys. Rev. 41(1):49-71
  • 1932 Pauling
    • J. Am. Chem. Soc. 54(9):3570-3582
  • 1933 Ruska
    • Zeitschrift für Physik 83(7):492-497
  • 1934 Mulliken
    • J. Chem. Phys. 2:782
  • 1934 Hückel
    • Trans. Farady Soc. 30:40-52
  • 1934 Joliot-Curie - artificial radioactivity
  • 1936 Madelung
    • Die Mathematischen Hilfsmittel des Physikers
  • 1938 Coulson
    • Mathematical Proc. Cambridge Phil. Soc. 34(2):204-212
  • 1940 Sidgwick & Powell
    • Proc. Roy. Soc. A 176:153-180
  • 1947 Kohman “nuclide”
    • Am. J. Phys. 15(4):356-357
  • 1951 Kelchkowski
    • Akademii Nauk 86:691-664
  • 1957 Gillespie
    • Quant. Rev. 11:339
  • 1970 Nyholm
    • J. Chem. Ed. 47:18
  • 1985 Pearson - Lewis acid/base hardness
    • J. Am. Chem. Soc. 107(24):6801

Updated May 28, 2013