By Graeme K. Hunter
Vital Forces tells the background of the 'biochemical revolution', a interval of unprecedentedly speedy improve in human wisdom that profoundly affected our view of existence and laid the root for contemporary medication and biotechnology. the tale is instructed in a transparent, enticing, and soaking up demeanour. This pleasant paintings relates the attention-grabbing and wonderful advances in suggestions and theories during the last 2 hundred years and introduces the most important figures of the days. Vital Forces additionally describes the invention of the molecular foundation of lifestyles during the tales of the scientists concerned, together with such towering figures as Louis Pasteur, Gregor Mendel, Linus Pauling, and Francis Crick. Combining technology and biography right into a seamless chronological narrative, the writer brings to lifestyles the successes and screw ups, collaborations and feuds, and error and insights that produced the revolution in biology. * Vividly describes dramatic clinical discoveries, personalities, feuds and rivalries * solutions a common readers quest to appreciate the character of lifestyles, and the relevance of biochemistry/molecular biology to trendy medication, and agriculture
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Additional info for Vital Forces: The Discovery of the Molecular Basis of Life
The substance to be analyzed was made into pellets with potassium chlorate and dropped into a combustion chamber. The oxygen and carbon dioxide produced were measured directly, and the water produced calculated by the loss of oxygen from the chlorate. 1). Clearly the new method represented a considerable improvement over that of Lavoisier. 5 In 1812, the Swedish chemist Jons Jacob Berzelius improved upon the analytical technique of Gay-Lussac and Thenard by introducing a condenser to collect the water.
Those from the plant kingdom were oxides of carbon, hydrogen and sometimes phosphorus; those from the animal kingdom were oxides of carbon, hydrogen, phosphorus and 'azote'. The Elements of Chemistry also contained a statement of the law of conservation of matter, long implicitly accepted by chemists but formally stated here for the first time: We may lay it down as an incontestible axiom, that, in all the operations of art and nature, nothing is created; an equal quantity of matter exists both before and after the experiment; the quality and quantity of the elements remain precisely the same; and nothing takes place beyond changes and modifications in the combination of these elements.
The great majority of the nineteenth-century chemical establishment were not, however. The main reason for the neglect of Avogadro's work appears to be that its key concept, the diatomic gas, was philosophically unacceptable to most chemists of the time. Atoms were thought to combine into compounds only if they were of opposite electrical charge. ^ Amedeo Avogadro is an example of the scientist who is able to believe the experimental evidence even when it contradicts assumptions so deeply embedded in the fabric of a discipline as to be almost subconscious.