A History of Chemistry
By (author) Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent Isabelle Stengers
Translated by Deborah van Dam
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History of Chemistry by Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent
Book DescriptionFrom the earliest use of fire to forge iron tools to the medieval alchemists' search for the philosopher's stone, the secrets of the elements have been pursued by human civilization. But, as the authors of this concise history remind us, "disciplines like physics and chemistry have not existed since the beginning of time; they have been built up little by little, and that does not happen without difficulties". Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent and Isabelle Stengers present chemistry as a science in search of an identity, or rather as a science whose identity has changed in response to its relation to society and to other disciplines. The authors - scholars in history and philosophy of science - have distilled their knowledge into an accessible work, free of jargon. They have written a book about the conceptual, experimental and technological complexities and challenges with which chemists have grappled over many centuries. Beginning with chemistry's polymorphous beginnings, featuring many independent discoveries all over the globe, the narrative then moves to a discussion of chemistry's niche in the 18th-century notion of Natural Philosophy and on to its 19th-century days as an examplar of science as a means of reaching positive knowledge. The authors also address contentious issues of concern to contemporary scientists: whether chemistry has become a service science; whether its status has "declined" because its value lies in assisting the leading-edge research activities of molecular geneticists and materials scientists; or whether it is redefining its agenda. "A History of Chemistry" treats chemistry as a study whose subject matter, the nature and behaviour of qualitatively different materials, remains constant, while the methods and disciplinary boundaries of the science constantly shift.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780674396593
(235mm x 155mm x 26mm)
Imprint: Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publish Date: 31-Jan-1997
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent
Chemistry, Hardback (August 2012)
Introduces the central issues in the philosophy of chemistry. Mobilizing the theme of impurity, this book explores the tradition of chemistry's negative image. It argues for the positive philosophical value of chemistry, reflecting its characteristic practical engagement with the material world.
Science and Spectacle in the European Enlightenment, Hardback (July 2008)
Contains case studies describing public demonstrations in Britain, Germany, Italy and France that exemplifies the variety of settings for scientific activities in the European Enlightenment. Filled with sparks and smells, this work raises issues about the ways in which modern science established its legitimacy and social acceptability.
Artificial and the Natural, Hardback (December 2007)» View all books by Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent
Notions of nature and art as they have been defined and redefined in Western culture, from the Hippocratic writers and Aristotle of Ancient Greece to nineteenth-century chemistry and twenty-first century biomimetics.
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Author Biography - Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent
Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent is Associate Professor at the University of Paris X, Nanterre. Isabelle Stengers teaches philosophy of science at the Free University of Brussels.
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