The Birth of Modern Chemistry

Thomas Allan Rayner & Aiga Mackevica

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


Alchemy was a science practiced for more than two millennia up till the end of 18th century when it was replaced by modern chemistry, which is practiced up till this very day. The purpose of this report is to look into this shift and investigate whether this shift can be classified as a paradigm shift according to the famous philosopher Thomas Kuhn, who came up with a theory on the structure of scientific revolutions. In order to come to draw any kind of conclusions, the report summarizes and defines the criteria for what constitutes a paradigm, crisis and paradigm shift, which are all important in order to investigate the manner in which a paradigm shift occurs. The criteria are applied to the historical development of modern chemistry and alchemy as well as the transition between the two sciences. As a result, alchemy and modern chemistry satisfy the requirements and can be viewed as two different paradigms in a Kuhnian sense. However, it is debatable whether the shift from alchemy to modern chemistry can be called a paradigm shift.

UddannelserBasis - International Naturvidenskabelig Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdato26 jan. 2009
VejledereTorben Braüner


  • Boyle
  • Kuhn
  • Alchemy
  • paradigm
  • Lavoisier
  • Dalton
  • Phlogiston
  • paradigm shift
  • Modern Chemistry
  • Aristotle