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Seminar on History and Philosophy of Science

Wednesday, April 10, 2024
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Dabney Hall 110 (Treasure Room)
Making Molecular World: Building a practice-based account of modern chemistry
Dr. Catherine M. Jackson, Associate Professor and Director of the Oxford Centre for the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, University of Oxford,

According to existing histories, theory drove chemistry's remarkable nineteenth-century development. This talk shows instead how novel experimental approaches combined with what I've called "laboratory reasoning" enabled chemists to bridge wet chemistry and abstract concepts and, in so doing, create the molecular world. Based on a series of practice-based breakthroughs – including the "glassware revolution", the turn to synthesis, and the "chemical identity crisis" – this historical reassessment reveals organic synthesis as the ground chemists stood upon to forge a new relationship between experiment and theory—with far-reaching consequences for chemistry as a discipline.

For more information, please contact Fran Tise by phone at 626-395-3609 or by email at [email protected].