Chemists and Chemistry in Nature and Society, 1770–1878: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Chemists and Chemistry in Nature and Society, 1770–1878

1st Edition

By Trevor H. Levere


320 pages

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Hardback: 9780860784128
pub: 1994-04-14
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In the 18th century chemistry established itself as both an autonomous and a public science, moving from mining and medicine into agriculture and geology, indeed into the entire material and cultural fabric of society. This chemical revolution had its epicentre in France, but quickly spread. The present volume looks at theoretical and practical aspects of that revolution in France and The Netherlands, then turns to Britain, where Thomas Beddoes mixed French chemistry, medicine, and democratic politics. With the 19th century, Humphrey Davy, emerging from Beddoes’s Pneumatic Institution (from which he rapidly distanced himself), took public chemistry dramatically to London. The following articles show how his friend Coleridge incorporated the science into a romantic philosophy of nature, and Faraday extended Davy’s work in electrochemistry, matter theory, and a theology of nature; even Hegel’s philosophy of geology based itself on chemistry. The final section explores debates about chemical affinity, qualities and arrangement. Au 18é s., la chimie s’établissait en tant que science autonome et publique, passant de l’industrie minière et de la médecine à l’agriculture et à la géologie; en vérité, à l’ensemble de la structure matérielle et culturelle de la société. Cette révolution chimique, dont l’épicentre était en France, finit par s’étaler rapidement de toute part. Le présent volume examine les aspects théoriques et pratiques de cette révolution en France et aux Pays-Bas, puis se tourne vers la Grande-Bretagne, où Thomas Beddoes mélangeait la chimie française à la médecine et à la politique démocratique. A l’orée du 19è s., Humphry Davy, émergeant de l’Institut Pneumatique de Beddoes (dont il se distancera rapidement), amena le chimie publique à Londres de façon théâtrale. Les articles suivants montrent commont son ami, Coleridge, incorpora la science à une philosophie romantique de la nature, et com

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Martinus van Marum (1750-1837): the introduction of Lavoisier’s chemistry into the Low Countries; Friendship and influence: Martinus van Marum, F.R.S.; Relations and rivalry: interactions between Britain and The Netherlands in 18th-century science and technology; Balance and gasometer in Lavoisier’s chemical revolution; Dr Thomas Beddoes at Oxford: radical politics in 1788-1793 and the fate of the Regius chair in chemistry; Dr Thomas Beddoes (1750-1808): science and medicine in politics and society; Dr Thomas Beddoes and the establishment of his Pneumatic Institution: a tale of three presidents; Dr Thomas Beddoes: the interaction of pneumatic and preventive medicine with chemistry; The rich economy of nature: chemistry in the 19th century; Elements in the structure of Victorian science, or Cannon revisited; Humphry Davy and the idea of glory; S.T. Coleridge: a poet’s view of science; Coleridge, chemistry and the philosophy of nature; Hegel and the earth sciences; Faraday, electrochemistry, and natural philosophy; Faraday, matter, and natural theology: reflections on an unpublished manuscript; Affinity or structure: an early problem in organic chemistry; Gay-Lussac and the problem of chemical qualities; Arrangement and structure: a distinction and a difference; Index.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

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