Web Sites on the History of Chemistry

Part of The Alchemist's Lair Web Site
Maintained by Harry E. Pence, Professor of Chemistry, SUNY Oneonta, for the use of his students. Any opinions are totally coincidental and have no official endorsement, including the people who sign my pay checks. Comments and suggestions are welcome (pencehe@oneonta.edu).

Last Revised Sept. 15, 2003

General Sites in the History of Chemistry and Science

Carmen Giunta's Page has become an excellent resource on the history of chemical and deserves to be visited by anyone interested in this topic.

John L. Park, of ChemTeam has developed an extensive (over 90at last count) on-line list of Classic Chemical Papers, which he coordinates with a similar effort by Carmen Giunta. Park also provides an equally comprehensive gallery of photos of famous chemists.

The Edgar Fahs Smith Library of Images includes famous scientists, laboratory apparatus, and other images. This is part of the Center for Electronic Text and Images at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Chemical Heritage Foundation includes an Explore Chemical History section, the online catalog of the Othmer Library of Chemical History, art and artifacts collections, image archives, oral histories, resources for teachers, publications, fellowships and grants, events, and more. It also includes a fine collection of chemically related art and photographs.

The University of California at San Diego provides a excellent listing of links to sites on the History of Science .

The History of Science Society home page is a gateway to a variety of useful information on employment, grants, teaching methods, and many other aspects of using the history of science in the classroom.it should be a good source on the Sociology, History, and Philosophy of Science.

The Royal Society of Chemistry History page is mainly concerned with the activities of that organization, but if you persevere to the bottom of the page, there are some excellent links.

Robert Hatch (Univ. of Florida) is developing a site on the History of Science for Secondary Teachers. It was under construction when I visited it, but as the headings that are listed are filled in, it may be a good source for lesson plans and other material for secondary education.

The 1992 Woodrow Wilson Institute developed a set of 25 biographical essays of famous chemists. General Chemistry Students may be especially interested in the excellent discussion of LeChatalier and his principle.

Peter Morris has extracted short biographies from his "confusing names" feature in the HG newsletter) and putting them on a website.

Another resource for classic papers, including those in early science, is The Internet Library of Early Journals, which includes the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.

History of Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology Page. As the title implies, this site is mainly concerned with chemical engineering, but it does cover this topic rather well.

Reference Sources

The University of California at San Diego also provides a fine set of History of Science/Science Studies Reference Sources.

4000 Years of Women in Science is, as the name indicates, an attempt to give information about the contributions of women to the history of science. It includes biographies, pictures, and other resources, but the coverage is only up to 1900. It is maintained by two professors at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa.

Bill Palmer has undertaken the massive job of creating a web site that will be an online source of Science Textbooks and Other Science Material. This is already an impressive project and is becoming an extremely valuable reference site.

The List of Nobel Prize Winners in Chemistry is also available on the Web.

The Institute of Chemistry in the Republic of Macedonia is creating a site that will eventually contain almost 400 biographies of outstanding chemists. When it was last visited (July 1998), the available information was rather spotty, but it may well develop into a useful site.

Richard Paselk (Humboldt State Univ.-CA) has posted a list of articles, brochures, chapters etc. on scientific instruments and apparatus. This material on scientific instruments is also listed alphabetically by author.

If you wish to trace back who worked from whom in Chemistry, Vera Mainz has developed an interesting site, which is a Chemical Genealogy Database. You will, however, need Adobe Acrobat Reader to access the information.

Scientific Societies Concerned with the History of Chemistry

The American Chemical Society Division of the History of Chemistry home page contains extensive information bout this organization, including symposia at upcoming ACS meetings and the contents of recent issues of the Bulletin of the History of Chemistry. When last visited (9/03) it seemed to be under construction.

The Fachgruppe Geschichte der Chemie/German Chemical Society's History Group also has a web site. (This site is, of course, in German.)

Philosophy of Chemistry

The Foundations of Chemistry describes itself as an innovative international journal providing an interdisciplinary forum for conceptual and fundamental issues in chemistry. This excellent journal deals with not only the philosophy of chemistry, but also historical, educational, and interdisciplinary aspects of this field.

The emphasis at HYLE, the International Journal for the Philosophy of Chemistry is clearly on the philosophy of Chemistry, but there is enough overlap with the History of Chemistry to make this a very useful site.

Alchemy and Early Chemistry

The Virtual Alchemy page provides thousands of pages about all facets of alchemy, including texts, images, articles, and even an alchemy bookshop.

Some Special Topics

The Bibliotheque nationale de France collection of 19th Century French images and texts is a very interesting site. As you should expect, the language is French, but if you remember a little of this language, there is some good information at this site.

Another excellent non-English site is the Chemische Briefe von Justus von Liebig.

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