The Principles of Chemistry and Molecular Mechanics


THIS work constitutes the second volume of a treatise on “The Principles of the Physical Sciences,” and its main object is to present theoretical chemistry in its most modern aspect and to discuss its laws from a dynamical point of view. It is divided into two portions: “Molecular Statics,” and “Molecular Dynamics.” The former commences with an account of chemical atoms, it being premised that the conception of a chemical atom is the basis of the modern chemical theory. Although the author tellsus that the chemical atom is a reality, while the philosophic atom is only a possibility, we have a little difficulty in accepting his definition of a chemical atom as “a lvery minute, relatively indivisible particle of matter.” For it is surely unwise to retain a term so precise in its etymological significance if we admit its divisibility. We are told that “an atom of lead sulphide” can be divided into an atom of tead and an atom of sulphur; and further (p. 19), that “the molecule of gaseous compounds consists of one atom of the compound.” But a molecule is defined as a “group of atoms” elsewhere, so that it would appear that a molecule is sometimes an atom, and an atom is sometimes a molecule, and such confusion of ideas must be most detrimental to the acquirement of exact knowledge by the student.

The Principles of Chemistry and Molecular Mechanics.

By Dr. Gustavus Hinrichs, Professor of Physical Science in the State University of Iowa. (Davenport, Iowa, U.S.: Day, Egbert, and Fidlar, 1874.)

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

RODWELL, G. The Principles of Chemistry and Molecular Mechanics . Nature 12, 288–289 (1875).

Download citation


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.