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Química Nova

Print version ISSN 0100-4042On-line version ISSN 1678-7064


PORTO, Paulo Alves. Early developments of the helmontian concept of gas: part II. Quím. Nova [online]. 2003, vol.26, n.1, pp.141-146. ISSN 0100-4042.

This paper focuses on the early interpretations of the concept of gas, originally created by J. B. Van Helmont (1579 ¾ 1644). Our main interest is on the ideas of English physicians and chemical philosophers of the seventeenth century. Gas was usually associated with the material cause of diseases, with the vital spirit, or with a volatile spirit produced in some kinds of material transformations. As a general trend, however, the authors who did not want to embrace the details of the medico-chemical system proposed by Van Helmont preferred to use more well-known words (such as vapours, exhalations, effluvia, odours, spirits), avoiding the use of the neologism.

Keywords : gas; seventeenth-century chemistry; plague.

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