Historical and logical methods are used to understand and analyze the atomic theory of matter. The basic question of the course is: What is the world made of? Scientific models which purport to answer this question have historically been classified under the science of science of chemistry. Hence, Natural Sciences 1 is a chemistry course that begins with the Ancient Greek philosophers and continues into the early twentieth century. It starts with the idea that matter is composed of Thales' one element or Empedocles' four elements, and ends with Mendeleev's periodic table of some ninety-odd elements ordered in terms of weight. The course focuses upon several key concepts, such as weight, structure, and complexity, in an attempt to understand the material basis of the world.
Authors read in Natural Sciences 1 at Shimer College, as of 2012