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He insisted that the 'primitive forms' of natural minerals were identical with mathematically simple, and geometrically regular, solids. Consequently, once the angle of inclination of a crystal axis to its cleavage faces was known, all the values of the interfacial angles could be calculated by plan~ trigonometry. For Hauy, in harmony with the thinking of his time, the mathematical relationships that accompanied simple geometrical forms were the key to understanding nature. Observation and measurement served only to buttress calculations:- they could not by themselves undermine the validity of his insight .
His own hope for the unique identification of minerals by optical crystallography, in fact, prevented him from appreciating the significance of isomorphous minerals, the correct interpretation of which belongs to Mitscherlich, who relied on measurements made with the reflective goniometer. But, most of all, mineralogists THE REFLECTIVE GONIOMETER AND CHEMICAL THEORY 39 viewed their discipline as a study of external forms, and the formulation of useful taxonomic principles. They were not prepared to see crystallography reduced to a sUb-specialty of chemistry.
They value highly those individual characteristics that give promise of scientific success - experimental care, patience and perseverance coupled with insight, imagination and creativity . Such individual qualities are no more generously endowed on the human race now than they have been in the past, and yet we can find in the historical development of chemistry the same aptitudes clearly, sometimes brilliantly, expressed. This search for individual excellence has motivated much of chemists' retrieval of their history, and has relegated to the perimeter less individualistic parameters such as social networks, economic and political exigencies, and technological i nnova t i o n .