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By Michael Allaby

'Atmosphere' tells the tale of the ambience sciences, starting with the popularity that air is a cloth substance - a mix of gases - and describes the unraveling of its chemical composition.

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Sample text

Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier was born in Paris on August , . His mother died when he was five, and Antoine inherited a large fortune from her estate. From  to  he studied chemistry, botany, and mathematics at the Collège Mazarin, one of the colleges of the University of Paris, and in  he began studying law, also at the University of Paris, graduating in law in . His interest in science had not decreased, and he continued to attend science lectures during the time he was studying law.

As part of his research, he also studied the effect of the atmosphere on light waves passing through it. Rayleigh found that very small atmospheric particles, with a size comparable to the wavelength of light, scatter light in all directions. The way this happens varies according to the size of the particles and the wavelength of the light. Air molecules—nitrogen and oxygen—scatter short wavelengths more than longer wavelengths. In descending order of wavelength (starting with the longest), the spectrum of white light consists of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

He attended local schools where he learned Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. He also studied French, German, Italian, Chaldean, Syrian, and Arabic. The family was Calvinist and therefore religious Dissenters, and his education continued at a dissenting academy in Daventry, Warwickshire. He matriculated in , and in  he became a clergyman, with parishes in Needham Market, Suffolk, and later at Nantwich, Cheshire. In  he was appointed to teach modern languages and rhetoric at the dissenting Warrington Academy in Cheshire.

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