DEMOCRITUS A.K.A The Laughing Philosopher
Democritus is most famous for being the first person to propose that atoms exist. Democritus was born in Abdera, Thrace, Greece. He was born in the 80th olympiad (460-457 B.C.) and he died around 370 B.C. Over Democritus' life he traveled all around central Europe, Asia and even Africa studying and developing his atomic theory. He spent most of his life in the areas around the Mediterranean sea. Democritus was also a pioneering mathematician and astronomist.
ABOUT DEMOCRITUS' ATOMIC THEORY
Democritus was the first person ever to propose that matter was made of atoms, and that they are indestructible. He also theorized that they are, always have been and always will be, in motion. Democritus contemplated the earliest ideas of the shapes and properties of atoms; he thought that the solidness of a substance would correspond with the shape and properties of the atoms involved. For example, an atom of iron (Fe) would be hard and have hook like appendages that bonded the atoms together very tightly, making it a hard, solid material, whereas atoms of water would be soft and slippery allowing them to slide passed one another, giving it the properties of a liquid. You can learn more about this at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/democritus/
THE EXPERIMENTS THAT LED TO HIS THEORY
Democritus lived over 2000 years ago, so you can assume he had no laboratory, no instruments to study subatomic particles or any $50,000,000 microscopes. What makes Democritus a genus is the fact that he came up with his theory purely by philosophical means. Just by using analogies of his sense experiences he gave a picture of atoms and distinguished them by shape, size, and the arrangement of their parts. Democritus was able to understand that there is no limit to how small or big something can be which gave him the idea that there were little particles that make up everything.
FAMOUS ARTWORK AND EVENTS DURING DEMOCRITUS' LIFE
All the while Democritus is developing his theory, Alexander the Great was on a conquest conquering many, many societies including the Persian empire. If your interested in learning more about Alexander the Great, visit http://www.historyofmacedonia.org/AncientMacedonia/AlexandertheGreat.html
REMBRANDT- BY ZEUXIS
This is an example of one of the many peices of artwork created during the life of Democritus. It was painted by Zeuxis, who is one of the more well known painters of the late classical period. He did other works such as "Helen" and "Zeus Enthroned". He may not be all that well known to the general population but anyone who knows a bit about Greek art knows the works of Zeuxis. You can learn more about Zeuxis if you visit http://www.in2greece.com/english/historymyth/history/ancient/zeuxis.htm