I can only imagine the excitement of discovering something so unique as a new gas and there seemed to be much enthusiasm in this lecture. To come to the realization that the discovery might be an element, well…. I think that it is a good thing that Lord Rayleigh decided to continue upon his rather “unacceptable” career as a scientist.
This is a lecture filled with unfamiliar words and details. If I have anything wrong, please let me know. I look forward to hearing from you!
Rayleigh, Lord. 1895. Argon. American Association for the Advancement of Science, Vol. 1, No. 26 (Jun. 28, 1895), 701-712.
My Precis Expanded
More than 50 years ago the French scientist, Regnault, introduced scientific methods of weighing gases and using these methods weights were obtained for nitrogens derived in two different manners. It was found that the results varied even after the tests were repeated. We explored this discrepancy, rather than erasing its existence, by repeating the experiments of deriving nitrogen through both atmospheric and chemical means. The methods gave consistently different weights and quality and further testing proved that the new, lighter gas was not a mixture of gases or impure but pure nitrogen and the heavier ingredient we had isolated was given the name “Argon.”
The spectrum of argon obtained from the oxygen and chemical methods are the same and the density has been found to be between 19.9 and 19.7 with a ratio of specific heats of 1.65. The theoretical limit of specific heats is 1.67 and ordinary gases such as oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, etc., have numbers around 1.4. Therefore the density of argon places it into a type of gas known as monatomic.
This evidence strongly suggests that Argon is an element.
I found the original article here and downloaded my copy on September 5, 2014:
This article is more easily available using this link. If you have any trouble locating the article please contact me or, call your local college or university library for assistance.