Dalton’s Garden

This greetings card is inspired by the element symbols devised by English chemist John Dalton in the early 19th century. In order to represent the atoms of each element and show how they combine to make molecules and compounds, he devised a set of symbols, each consisting of a circle around a distinct motif or letter. It struck me that some of the compounds he showed look like bees and flowers, and so with a little bit of colour and some stems, a garden emerges.

The symbols are those Dalton used for: sodium carbonate, barium carbonate, potassium carbonate, calcium carbonate and silicon fluoride (the bees); and aluminium nitrate, calcium nitrate and barium nitrate (the flowers). n.b. these do not necessarily have the composition that is now known to be correct, but show how they were thought to be composed at the time.

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