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The Atmosphere as a Raw Material*

Nature volume 143, pages 610611 (08 April 1939) | Download Citation



TN the middle of the seventeenth century, the phlogiston theory was generally accepted. Scientific study of the atmosphere only began in the last quarter of that century, and within fifty years of Stahl's formulation of the theory, it had been displaced, and oxygen had been recognized, isolated and identified. In little more than a century, the ocomposition of air was known to 1 per cent, and not very long afterwards, Ramsay completed the story with his discovery of the inert constituents. At the present time, gases which are only present to the extent of one drop in 130 gallons are articles of everyday commerce.

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