Celebrating 18 Years on the Web
Find science on or your birthday

Stories About Chemistry


54.  The Sun as a Chemist

     Once Stephenson, the inventor of the steam locomotive, was taking a walk with his friend Beckland, a geologist, near the first railway in England. Presently they saw a train passing.

    "I say, Beckland," asked Stephenson, "what do you think makes that train go?"
    "Why, the hand of the driver of one of your wonderful locomotives."
    "Well then, the steam that moves the machine?"
    "The fire kindled under the boiler?"
   "Wrong again; it is actuated by the Sun which shone in that far-off epoch when the plants were alive that afterwards changed into the coal which the driver is shovelling into the stoker."
    All living things owe their origin to the Sun, especially plants. Try and grow them in the dark, and all you will get is pale thin filaments instead of juicy green stalks. Under the action of solar light chlorophyll (the colouring matter of green leaves) converts the carbon dioxide of the air into complex molecules of organic substances which constitute the bulk of the plant.

    Hence, the Sun, or rather its rays, are the chief "chemist" synthesizing all the organic substances in plant? It would seem so. Not in vain has the process of assimilation of carbon dioxide by plants been named photosynthesis.

    It is known that many chemical reactions occur under the action of light. There is even a special branch of chemistry which studies them, called photochemistry.

who invites your feedback

- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton

Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.