Cover image for The chemical tree : a history of chemistry
The chemical tree : a history of chemistry
Brock, W. H. (William Hodson)
Uniform Title:
Norton history of chemistry
Publication Information:
New York : Norton, 2000.

Physical Description:
xxvii, 744 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
General Note:
Originally published in England under the title: "The Fontana history of chemistry" and in the United States as "The Norton history of chemistry" - T.p. verso.
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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QD11 .B76 1992C Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In this authoritative volume, a New York Times Notable Book of 1993, scientific researcher and historian William Brock recounts the astonishing rise of a sophisticated science. Tracing the roots of chemistry back to the alchemists' futile attempts to turn lead into gold, he follows the emergence of the modern study of chemistry through the works of Boyle, Lavoisier, and Dalton, and the twentieth-century breakthroughs of Linus Pauling and others. This timely, comprehensive history examines the shifting conceptions of chemistry over the past centuries--from its development as a scientific philosophy to, more recently, its practical applications in the commercial, industrial arena. Originally published under the title The Norton History of Chemistry.

Author Notes

William H. Brock is Reader in the History of Science at the University of Leicester.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. xv
Acknowledgementsp. xvii
Bibliographical Notep. xix
Introductionp. xxi
1 On the Nature of the Universe and the Hermetic Museump. 1
Chinese Alchemy
Greek Alchemy
Arabic and Medieval Alchemy
Newton's Alchemy
The Demise of Alchemy and its Literary Tradition
2 The Sceptical Chymistp. 41
The Acid-Alkali Theory
A Sceptical Chemist
Boyle's Physical Theory of Matter
The Vacuum Boylianum and its Aftermath
Newton's Chemistry
The Phlogistonists
3 Elements of Chemistryp. 87
A Scientific Civil Servant
The Chemistry of Air
The Chemical Revolution
The Aftermath
4 A New System of Chemical Philosophyp. 128
Dalton's 'New System'
Dalton's Life
The Atomic Theory
The Origins of Dalton's Theory
Electrifying Dalton's Theory
Chemical Reactivity
Prout's Hypothesis
Volumetric Relations
Scepticism Towards Atomism
5 Instructions for the Analysis of Organic Bodiesp. 173
The Basis of Chemistry
The Supply of Apparatus and Chemicals
Liebig, Organic Analysis and the Research School
6 Chemical Methodp. 210
Classifying by Radicals
Classification by Types
7 On the Constitution and Metamorphoses of Chemical Compoundsp. 241
The Establishment of Quantivalence
Kekule and the Theory of Chemical Structure
The Triumph of Structural Theory
8 Chemistry Applied to Arts and Manufacturesp. 270
The Alkali Industry
Dyestuffs and Colouring
9 Principles of Chemistryp. 311
Sorting the Elements
The Rare Earths
The Inert Gases
Manufacturing Elements
Mendeleev's Principles
10 On the Dissociation of Substances Dissolved in Waterp. 355
Proto-Physical Chemistry
Raoult and van't Hoff
Electrochemistry from Faraday to Arrhenius
The Ionic Theory
The Reception of the Ionic Theory
11 How to Teach Chemistryp. 396
Frankland's State-sponsored Chemistry
Armstrong's Heuristic Method
Twentieth-century Developments in Teaching
The Laboratory
12 The Chemical Newsp. 436
Forming Chemical Societies
The Chemical Periodical
William Crookes, Chemical Editor
13 The Nature of the Chemical Bondp. 462
The Lewis Atom
Spreading the Electronic Theory
The Pauling Bond
14 Structure and Mechanism in Organic Chemistryp. 506
The Lapworth-Thiele-Robinson Tradition
The Michael-Flurscheim-Vorlander Tradition
The Electronic Theory of Organic Reactions
Organizing the Structure of Organic Chemistry
The Kinetics of Mechanisms
The Spread of Physical Organic Chemistry
The Non-classical Ion Debate
15 The Renaissance of Inorganic Chemistryp. 570
Werner's New Ideas
Sidgwick's Electronic Interpretation of Co-ordination Chemistry
Australian Chemistry
Australian and Japanese Chemistry
Co-ordination Chemistry in Australia
Nyholm's Renaissance
16 At the Sign of the Hexagonp. 619
Industrial Chemistry
Chemistry and the Environment
Epiloguep. 663
Appendix History of Chemistry Museums and Collectionsp. 665
Notesp. 669
Bibliographical Essayp. 674
Indexp. 715