We now believe that the molecule of an element is frequently made up of two or more atoms; thus the formulae for the gases hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen are 112, 02, N2, while gaseous phosphorus and sulphur are probably P4 and S 6, and gaseous mercury is Hg i, - that is, the molecule of this element is monatomic. This view, as to the frequently complex nature of the elementary molecule, is logically and historically connected with the striking hypothesis of Amadeo Avogadro and A.
Additional evidence as to the structure of the molecule was discussed by Avogadro in 1811, and by Ampere in 1814.
Equal changes in temperature and pressure occasion equal changes in equal volumes of all gases and vapours - Avogadro deduced the law: Under the same conditions of temperature and pressure, equal volumes of gases contain equal numbers of molecules; and he showed that the relative weights of the molecules are determined as the ratios of the weights of equal volumes, or densities.
The weight contained in a molecule of hydrochloric acid, thus differing from Avogadro who chose the weight of a hydrogen molecule.
The development of the atomic theory and its concomitants - the laws of chemical combination and the notion of atoms and equivalents - at the hands of Dalton and Berzelius, the extension to the modern theory of the atom and molecule, and to atomic and molecular weights by Avogadro, Ampere, Dumas, Laurent, Gerhardt, Cannizzaro and others, have been noted.
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