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Creating Networks in Chemistry: The Founding and Early History of Chemical Societies in Europe Editors: Anita Kildebæk Nielsen, Sona Strbanova



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This book contains 428 pages.
Print publication date: 10 Apr 2008
Copyright year: 2008
Print ISBN: 978-0-85404-279-1
PDF eISBN: 978-1-84755-824-4
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About this book

During the second half of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century chemical societies were established all over Europe. The book focuses on this process and further development of the European chemical societies before World War I and in exceptional cases up to 1930. It comprises chapters based on a common set of questions and an extensive concluding chapter that provides a comparative analysis of the early development of the European chemical societies. The book offers unique historical material showing the social, intellectual and political circumstances in which the chemical societies were constituted and function, their relations to universities and chemical industries, everyday lives, international contacts, etc. The analysis of data explores how networks in chemistry and professional autonomy were constituted, and investigates the process of demarcation that inevitably takes place when a social institution of a scientific discipline is formed. The reader gets answer to the important question of what chemistry was and was not in the latter half of nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century. Various aspects of creating scientific societies have been of much interest to historians of science in recent years. Nevertheless, histories of scientific societies are mostly occasional publications written to celebrate their jubilees. This volume represents a first international comparative analysis on the beginnings of chemical societies in Europe based on a detailed historical research done by a group of renowned historians of chemistry from several countries. As such it is an entirely new contribution to the history of chemistry in Europe and European scientific societies in general and a unique source for chemists and historians. Its ambition is to become a reference work in history of chemistry, set the standard for similar studies in other disciplines, and serve European chemical societies to provide a context for their complex histories and relationships. The book can be read by miscellaneous audiences and various types of readers with diverse intentions who will benefit differently from it: - A member of a national chemical society will find there narrative on his "own" society's establishment and early history and the opportunity to compare it with societies from other countries - Historically interested chemists will find in the book details as well as wider perspectives on the institutional history of their discipline - Historians of chemistry will get a thoroughly documented and scholarly book on the early history of chemical societies in Europe, written by acknowledged colleagues. The individual chapters will offer additional literature and sources for their research into history of chemistry. - Historians of science will get material for comparative studies on scientific institutions on the roles of learned societies on national and international level. They can be inspired to create similar studies related to other scientific disciplines. The underlying common set of guidelines can provide methodological assistance. - Teachers of history of chemistry and history of science will find in the book additional reading material and literature. - Social and general historians will be given a well-edited and reliable source on a number of social institutions that played versatile roles in local/national settings. The establishment of chemical societies can be compared with other kinds of learned, professional, and amateur societies in the same period. They also will get data and information about some aspects of the scientific boom in the second half of the nineteenth century and pre-WW1 period.

Author information

PhD, Associate Professor and Senior Research Worker at the Institute of Contemporary History of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. External faculty at the Department of Philosophy and History of Science, Prague Charles University Faculty of Science (1990-2005). President of the Czech National Committee for History of Science and Technology. Corresponding Fellow of the International Academy of History of Science. Vice-President of the IUHPS/DHS Commission Women in Science. Member of the Scientific Board of the European Society for History of Science. Delegate of the Czech Chemical Society in the EuCheMS working party on history of chemistry.