Chauncey Leake Lecture: “Building a Practice-Based Account of Modern Chemistry”

5 Apr 2024
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Event Type
Non-CSTMS Event

Catherine M. Jackson
Associate Professor of the History of Science

Please join the University of California, San Francisco Department of Humanities and Social Sciences in their lecture: “Building a Practice-Based Account of Modern Chemistry”.

Existing histories claim theory drove chemistry’s remarkable nineteenth-century development. This talk shows instead how chemists used novel experimental approaches and what Jackson calls “laboratory reasoning” to create the molecular world. Built on 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.

Catherine M. Jackson, a professor of the history of science at the University of Oxford, began her career as a synthetic organic chemist. Later training as a historian prompted Jackson to reexamine the origins of organic synthesis. Molecular World: Making Modern Chemistry (MIT Press, 2023) is the outcome of that study, a compelling and innovative account that reshapes our view of nineteenth-century chemistry and explains a critical period in chemistry’s quest to understand and manipulate organic nature.

Event will be held via Zoom.

This event is sponsored by: San Francisco Department of Humanities and Social Sciences (DHSS)

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