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Introduction to Matter (Book)

Types of Matter

History of Elements

The idea of elements is not new. It dates back about 2500 years to ancient Greece. The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle thought that all matter consists of just four elements. He identified the elements as earth, air, water, and fire. He thought that different kinds of matter contain only these four elements but in different combinations.

Aristotle’s ideas about elements were accepted for the next 2000 years. Then, scientists started discovering the many unique substances we call elements today. You can read when and how each of the elements was discovered at the link below. Scientists soon realized that there are far more than just four elements. Eventually, they discovered a total of 92 naturally occurring elements.