Newton’s achievements, both in the Principia and the Opticks, were firmly rooted in an atomistic theory of matter, resembling aspects of modern nuclear physics in its emphasis on fundamental particles held in differing arrays by short and long‐range forces. Marred by premature sophistication, its parameters of particle size and shape and interparticulate forces could not be quantified. Although it inspired many scientists of the eighteenth century and was further developed into a qualitative theory which intrigued scientists into the twentieth century, Newtonian unitary corpuscular (or atomistic) matter theory was replaced for most investigators by a variety of substances for which the particulate nature was of less concern than the character of their gross behavior. It was on this basis that Dalton developed his new (chemical) atomism, reifying the multiplicity of substances with separate atoms for each, distinguished by operational differences in their chemical atomic weights.

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