Chapter 15 Notes

Epicurus and the Atom: The first man to expound an atomic theory was Democritus, in about 400 BC. Epicurus (341 to 270 BC) was a student of his theory that all things are composed of minute, invisible, indestructible particles of pure matter which move about eternally in infinite emptiness. Although the technology to research this theory was not available, Democritus and Epicurus were surprisingly accurate.

In the 17th and early 18th Centuries, the theory was sidetracked a little by The Calorists, who believed that heat was a subtle fluid called caloric. But people such as Robert Boyle in the 19th Century, an English schoolmaster and chemist, and a little later, John Dalton, updated and refined Democritus’ work and published Modern Atomic Theory. Dalton’s work inspired the man who perhaps made the most important contribution to the theory: J.J. Thompson, who discovered the electron in 1897. Shortly thereafter Thompson published his Plum Pudding model, which suggested that electrons and protons were randomly placed throughout the atom. This theory was incorrect, but it inspired the discovery of the nucleus, by Ernest Rutherford. These ideas were refined by Niels Bohr and later by Rutherford again and finally, James Chadwick’s discovery, in 1932, of the neutron, a nuclear particle with very nearly the same mass as the proton but no electric charge, gave us the model we know of today: a nucleus with orbiting electrons, neutrons and protons.

The Napoleonic Wars began in 1792 when The First Coalition, the Kingdoms of Austria, Sardinia, Naples, Prussia, Spain and Britain, attacked France after its revolution in 1792. The wars ended with Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1814, but a temporary peace reigned, as Jean says, in 1801. Jean’s fifteen years of war reflect his own personal campaigns. For wikipedia’s entry on Napoleon, click here.

For Napoleon.org’s more detailed site, click here.

Power and the Steam Engine.

Before Steam, we used wind, water and animals for power. Steam changed everything – great shovels full of it, whenever we wanted it, for how ever long we needed it.

Thomas Savery obtained the first patent for a machine powered by fire (a steam pump), and Thomas Newcomen added the piston powered by steam in 1725. Watt’s contribution, the double boiler, came in 1769. This made the machine efficient enough to generate real power and the move towards ever more powerful production facilities was on.

You villainous rapparee! I told you to bring the best bottles for our guests, not to swag one for yourself.”
Translating Kipper’s drunken outburst and Thomas’s reply: A spalpeen is a scamp, a rapparee is a thief and Gosport is an area in Pompey which hosts many bars catering to the Navy.