Experiments, Models, Paper Tools: Cultures of Organic Chemistry in the Nineteenth Century

Couverture
Stanford University Press, 2003 - 305 pages
In the early nineteenth century, chemistry emerged in Europe as a truly experimental discipline. What set this process in motion, and how did it evolve? Experimentalization in chemistry was driven by a seemingly innocuous tool: the sign system of chemical formulas invented by the Swedish chemist Jacob Berzelius. By tracing the history of this paper tool, the author reveals how chemistry quickly lost its orientation to natural history and became a major productive force in industrial society.

These formulas were not merely a convenient shorthand, but productive tools for creating order amid the chaos of early nineteenth-century organic chemistry. With these formulas, chemists could create a multifaceted world on paper, which they then correlated with experiments and the traces produced in test tubes and flasks.

The author s semiotic approach to the formulas allows her to show in detail how their particular semantic and representational qualities made them especially useful as paper tools for productive application.

 

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Table des matières

Introduction
1
The Semiotics of Berzelian Chemical Formulas
9
Two Cultures of Organic Chemistry in the Nineteenth
41
Experiments on the Periphery of Plant Chemistry
86
The Overthrow of the Accepted Interpretive Model of
115
The Performative Function of Berzelian Formulas
127
The Structure and Function of Dumas and Boullays Table
134
The Enlargement of Substance Classes by the Construction
141
The Dialectic of Tools and Goals
188
The Historical Transformation Process
207
The Structural Transformation
220
Paper Tools
231
Chains of Inscriptions and Paper Tools
240
Notes
249
Literature Cited
279
Index
299

Reception of the New Classification among European Chemists
147
Models of Constitution Prior to 1833
163

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À propos de l'auteur (2003)

Ursula Klein is Director of the Research Group on the History and Philosophy of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. This is her first book in English.

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