14 a brief history of chemistry learning objective to understand the development of the atomic model it was not until the era of the ancient greeks that we have any record of how people tried to explain the chemical changes they observed and used at that time natural objects were thought to consist of only four basic elements earth air . In many ways the history of civilization is the history of chemistry humans have always sought to identify use and change the materials in our environment. Chemistry is considered to have become an established science with the work of antoine lavoisier who developed a law of conservation of mass that demanded careful measurement and quantitative observations of chemical phenomena the history of chemistry is also intertwined with the history of thermodynamics. Figure 113 an alchemist at work alchemy was a form of chemistry that flourished during the middle ages and renaissance although some alchemists were frauds others made major contributions including the discovery of several elements and the preparation of strong acids
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