From Alchemy to Chemistry:
Five Hundred Years of Rare and Interesting Books

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Rare Book Room Exhibit

BERGMAN, TORBERN (1735 - 1784). Opuscula Physica et Chemica. 6 vols. Uppsala, 1780.

A collection of Bergman's scientific papers, including his memoirs on carbon dioxide, elective affinity, and chemical analysis of minerals and mineral waters. The collection also contains dissertations on chemical topics by doctoral candidates at the University of Uppsala. Bergman edited the first three volumes, revising many of the papers and contributing a prefatory essay "On the investigation of truth." Bergman's belief in attraction between molecules and the vast knowledge of chemical reactions acquired in the course of his analytical work put him in a good position to study chemical affinity. Descriptions of reactions in conventional prose were cumbersome, and Bergman introduced diagrams to represent reactions involving single and double elective attractions. An example of one of these diagrams is shown in the figure, below. The symbol for vitriolated tartar (K2SO4) is on the left, that of lime saturated with marine acid (CaCl2) on the right. The substances before mixing are in vertical positions. When the solutions are mixed calcium sulfate precipitates and potassium chloride remains in solution:

The horizontal brackets enclose the new compounds; the lower bracket indicates by its apex pointing downwards that the substance is precipitated and the position of the apex of the upper bracket shows that it remains in solution.

DSB; Norman Library of Science, 192; Partington IV, p571.

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