Essay on John Dalton

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John Dalton



Dalton, John (1766-1844), British chemist and physicist, who developed the atomic theory
upon which modern physical science is founded. Dalton was born on September 6, 1766, in
Eaglesfield, Cumberland County, England. He was the son of a weaver and received his early
education from his father and at a Quaker school in his native town, where he began
teaching at the age of 12. In 1781 he moved to Kendal, where he conducted a school with
his cousin and his elder brother. He went to Manchester in 1793 and spent the rest of his
life there as a teacher, first at New College and later as a private tutor. He died in
Manchester on July 27, 1844.


Dalton began a series of meteorological observations in 1787 that he continued for 57
years, accumulating some 200,000 observations and measurements on the weather in the
Manchester area. Dalton's interest in meteorology led him to study a variety of phenomena
as well as the instruments used to measure them. He was the first to prove the validity of
the concept that rain is precipitated by a decrease in temperature, not by a change in
atmospheric pressure.


Dalton's first work, Meteorological Observations and Essays (1793), attracted little
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