Eli5, how did we figure out the theories behind chemistry?

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Meaning, how did we make the jump from observation to comprehending the underlying system of molecular structure. How are we able to tell what molecules are composed of and how they are arranged?

In: Chemistry

A lot of it is maths proofs and using very sensitive equipment that can see down to those smaller levels.

There wasn’t a “jump”. It was a long process.

Benjamin Frankling found a method to measure the size of molecules in 1774. But he didn’t reach that conclusion, wich was added bei Lord Rayleight in 1890.

Stuff like electronegativity could be puzzled together by measuring the energy released by certain reactions, and the fact if certain reactions are even possible.

And for crystalline materials you could find the microstructure from the shape of the macrostructure.

All that was slowly pieced together and combined with knowledge from electrical physics to slowly get a better and better idea of what molecules look like.

Lots and lots and lots of trial and error, followed by sharing information between alchemists on what worked/what didn’t, followed then by state sponsored organisations actively researching and working out how it all works.