Download Chemistry in America 1876–1976: Historical Indicators by Arnold Thackray PDF

By Arnold Thackray

This examine is an outgrowth of our curiosity within the background of recent chemistry. The paucity of trustworthy, quantitative wisdom approximately earlier technological know-how used to be introduced domestic forcibly to us after we undertook a study seminar within the comparative historical past of contemporary chemistry in Britain, Germany, and the USA. That seminar, which came about on the collage of Pennsylvania within the spring of 1975, used to be paralleled via one dedicated to the paintings of the "Annales School". the 2 seminars jointly catalyzed the try and build old measures of switch in elements of 1 technology, or "chem­ ical indicators". the current quantity monitors our effects. might be our labors can be so much usefully in comparison with the paintings of these scholars of medieval technological know-how who commit their top efforts to the determine­ ment of texts. simply while appropriate texts were created from fragmentary and corrupt assets can students circulation directly to the extra gratifying enterprise of constructing heritage. So too within the glossy interval, an important pre­ liminary to the total historical past of any clinical career is the setting up of trustworthy quantitative info within the type of statistical sequence. This quantity doesn't supply historical past. as an alternative it offers yes aspect- signs -- which may be invaluable to participants drawn to the background of yank chemistry and chemical undefined, and suggestive for policy.

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11 For a treatment of professionalization which focuses on the role of these organizations, see II, Millerson, 1964. 12 Among the wave of discipline-oriented organizations established in the 18808 were the American Society of Naturalists (1883), Modern Language Association (1883), American Historical Association (1884), American Economic Association (1885). American Mathematical Society (1888). American Political Science Association (1888). and Geological Society of America (1888). 13 The history of the various associations established to foster the interests of the 23 CHEMISTRY AS OCCUPA nON AND PROFESSION NUMBER OF MEMBERS (hundreds) 20 18 16 14 12 10 ..

Training and skill imply standards of performance and evaluative mechanisms. II This process occurred in American chemistry during the 1880s and 1890s. 1. THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY The American Chemical Society, founded in 1876, was in the vanguard of American discipline-oriented societies. 12 In its early years, it was but one of several competing chemical societies and it served mainly the social interests of chemists in New York City and vicinity. Membership, which rose from 230 to 314 between 1876 and 1881, fell to a low point of 204 in 1889.

J7 . :/.... ;" . . . ·1... //' /' ' ... , Legend 8ocnelol1 Second - le ..... /.. Trend (e>;ponentlol)--- 01~----~----~-----+-----+-----4-----4----~~----~____~ 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 YEAR Fig. 1-4. Trends in degrees conferred in all fields, by level, 1890-1978. ) CHEMICAL EDUCATION AS CONTEXT 45 enduring trend, characteristic of American higher education. For the purposes of chemical indicators the growth is a "background phenomenon" obviously not explicable in terms of anything unique to the natural sciences, although its effect on those sciences has been profound.

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