What the ultimate Natural Units of material are?
The Chemical Element Concept
Enterprises of alchemists, medicine men, and technologists flourished,
during the 16th century.
These wealthy people had the leisure to pursue scientific reasoning.
Air pumps invented and identities of various gases discovered.
Is air a primal substance? Doubt began?
Robert Boyle (1627-1691) also experimented with gases and air.
He wrote The Sceptical Chymist in 1661 to demolish the idea of
four primal substances and establish the chemical element concept:
I mean by Elements, as those Chymists that speak plainest do by their
Principles, certain Primitive and Simple or perfectly unmingled bodies;
which not being made of any other bodies, or of one another, are the
Ingredients of which all those call'd perfectly mixt (i.e. compound)
Bodies are immediately compounded and into which they are ultimately
An element is a substance that cannot be decomposed into anything simpler.
Boyle did not identify any chemical element.
J. Priestley (1733-1804) discovered oxygen as an element.
Lavoisier (1743-1794) identified some elements in his Traite Element