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The History of Acids and Bases

From establishing fundamentals to creating substances that can dissolve the most inert of substances. The history of acids and bases spans a period of thousands of years from the earliest of scientists to the modern day.

Ashley Hung

on 2 November 2013

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Transcript of The History of Acids and Bases

Jābir ibn Hayyān created 'Aqua Fortis' which is known today as Nitric acid ( ). He produced it by heating saltpeter ( ) and dissolving the resulting gas in water.
The History of acids and bases
1810 A.D.- Sir Humphry Davy
Sir Humphrey Davy was an English born chemist most widely known for his work on electrolysis and the Davy lamp.
1884 A.D. - Svante Arrhenius
Svante Arrhenius was a Swedish physicist and chemist who is most well known for his work on the theory of ionic dissociation and Acid-Base Theory
1907 AD - S.P.L. Sørensen
Søren Peder Lauritz Sørensen was a Danish chemist most famous for developing the pH scale for measuring acidity.
Sørensen also described two ways of measuring acidity :
1. The conductivity of a current
2. Colour of a preset indicator
1920 AD - Thomas Lowry (Brit)
Thomas Lowry was a British physical chemist who simultaneously and independantly formulated the Brønsted–Lowry acid–base theory with Johannes Brønsted, a Danish physical chemist.
1776 A.D. - Antoine Lavoisier
Antoine Lavoisier was a French nobleman and chemist famous for his contributions to the Chemical revolution. He was executed for selling adulterated tobbaco.
Other notable things - Ever Stronger Acids
James Conant was an American chemist who discovered superacids.
1930 AD - Gilbert Lewis
Gilbert Lewis was an American physical chemist famous for discovering the covalent bond and electron pairs
1650 A.D. - Robert Boyle
Robert Boyle was an alchemist born in Ireland who discovered the first indicators.
700 A.D. - Jābir ibn Hayyān
Jābir ibn Hayyān was an Arab or Persian scientist credited with the creation of the first acid along with many other things.
The origins of acidity
Early 'scientists' identified with substances by taste. The substances with acidity were identified as having a 'sour' taste.
Sour eventually was eventually discovered to be the tongue's way of identifying acid.
The Greeks named this 'oxein' literally meaning "sharp", referring to the sour taste of acids

The Romans named acid 'acere' which literally translates in latin as ' be sour
He was a polymath meaning his knowledge spanned a great number of subjects including alchemy, chemistry, medicine, philosophy and astrology.
He was a philosopher, chemist, physicist and inventor and is regarded as the first modern chemist. His most well known theory is Boyle's Law.
Boyle discovered the first indicators from plant extracts which changed colour in the presence of acids or bases
Lavoisier is most well known for the discovery of oxygen and hydrogen and helped to establish the metric system. Lavoisier also helped the transition from science being qualitative to quantative.
Lavoisier predicted that something was responsible for the acidity in acid and proposed that a substance that he named 'oxygen' was the cause of it. Oxygen comes from the greek stems 'oxys' which means sour and 'gonos' which means producing.
He believed this as the salts formed from combustion were acidic when dissolved in water
Lavoisier's famous phlogiston experiment which led to the discovery of oxygen
1840 A.D.- Justus von Liebig
Davy showed that not all acids contained oxygen taking the example of muriatic acid (more commonly known today as hydrochloric acid) which contains Hydrogen and a element which Davy identified as chlorine
Justus von Liebig was a German chemist born in Darmstadt who made contributions to biological and agricultural chemistry. One of his more notable inventions is the Libig condenser
Liebig made the suggestion that hydrogen was the element present in all acids.
Arrhenius theorised for his PhD paper that acids, bases and salts split up in to positive and negative ions when in solution.
His acid base theory states that:
Acids provide Hydrogen ions
Bases provide Hydroxide ions
React together to form water in a neutralisation reaction
Acid + Base -> Water + Salt
February 1859
Svante Arrhenius born in Vik, Sweden
Svante Arrhenius submits dissertion on electrolytic conductivity outlining ionic dissociation
Recieves 4th class degree
Svante Arrhenius elected a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences
Svante Arrhenius awarded nobel prize for chemistry 'for his electrolytic theory of dissociation'
Svante Arrhenius dies due to an attack of acute intestinal catarrh
The pH scale is a method of determining the acidity or basicity of something.
It is defined as 'the decimal logarithm of the reciprocal of the hydrogen ion activity' (Wikipedia-pH)
- Johannes Brønsted (Dan)
Thomas M. Lowry Johannes N. Brønsted
The Brønsted–Lowry acid–base theory stated that:
Acids donate protons (H )
Bases accept protons
These ideas were accepted more readily than Arrhenius' for two main reasons:
1. They were both established scientists
2. The proton and the electron had been studied making it easier to
accept the fact that atoms could break apart
1927 A.D - James Conant
Conant discovered that when sulphuric acid and fluorosulphuric acid were mixed, the resulting acid was 1,000,000 times stronger than sulphuric acid.
George Olah is a Hungarian and American chemist who did notable work on Carbocations
1960 A.D - George Olah
Olah discovered Magic acid made of a mixture of Fluorosulphuric acid and Antimony pentachloride (H FSbF )
The resulting acid is a trillion times stronger than Sulphuric acid and can dissolve candle wax. It is currently the stongest acid known to us
Other notable things
A Lewis Acid is defined as an electron pair acceptor where as a Lewis Base is defined as an electron donor meaning the concept of acids and bases were no longer restricted to aqueous solution
1934 AD - Arnold Beckman
Arnold Beckman was an american industrialist who invented the pH meter
It was invented for the Californean Fruit growers Exchange to measure the acidity of lemons.

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