Shimer College

Laws Models of Chemistry Course in Chicago

Natural Sciences 1 is a chemistry course that explores Chemistry Laws Models to answer the question : What is the world made of?

Scientific models which purport to answer this question have historically been classified under the science of chemistry. Hence, Natural Sciences 1 is a chemistry course that begins with the Ancient Greek philosophers and continues into the early twentieth century.

Poetry inspired by Lucretius, courtesy of Equivalent Exchange.Poetry inspired by Lucretius, courtesy of Equivalent Exchange.

It starts with the idea that matter is composed of Thales’ one element or Empedocles’ four elements, and ends with Mendeleev’s periodic table of some ninety-odd elements ordered in terms of weight. The course focuses upon several key concepts, such as weight, structure, and complexity, in an attempt to understand the material basis of the world. 

Reading List

  • Aristotle, Physics
  • Philip Wheelwright, The Presocratics 
  • Lucretius, On the Nature of the Universe
  • Antoine Lavoisier, Elements of Chemistry
  • Francis Bacon, New Organon
  • Stanislao Cannizzaro, Sketch of a Course in Chemical Philosophy

Selections from:

Robert Boyle, Amedeo Avogadro, Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac, James Prescott Joule, Blaise Pascal, Pierre Bulong, Georg Stahl, Joseph Priestly, Benjamin Thompson, John Dalton