• History of Chemistry



PowerPoint Presentations of Selected Topics in the History of Chemistry and Related Science

As a student, I always wanted to know how the terms and concepts we learned about originated. I was fortunate to have had an undergraduate course in the history and philosophy of science. That course was taught by a recent graduate in the field who was very enthusiastic about the subject. (Unfortunately, my undergraduate institution did not value such courses and such instructors were not granted tenue. Also that course was eventually discontinued.) As a result, I became interested in the history of chemistry and science.

Living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, I has access to a number of bookstores selling second-hand and out-of-print, and rare books and, in some instances, rare prints of scientists and scientific apparatus and processes. (At that time, many science related books were very inexpensive.) I also had access to rare books at the University of Pennsylvania Edgar Fahs Smith Collection, The American Philosophical Society, The Franklin Institute of Philadelphia Library (no longer in existence), and the Free Library of Philadelphia rare book collection. As a educator, I often had access to wander the stacks in some of these libraries or, at least, free access to materials.

In order to utilize a historical approach in my teaching, I developed a series of semi-notes which contained outlines of my course materials and the historical information. I used them for many years, but updating took a lot of time since materials were not readily available and copying the papers did become expensive for the department budget. In the past few years, much of the information I needed has become available on the Internet and I have been able to update material and include color pictures in place of my old black-and-white Xerox images. Using PowerPoint presentations, I am able to include the historical information in my classes. Assembling the materials, even with modern search engines, is still time consuming, thus, I am reproducing the historical PowerPoint slides here for the use of my professional colleagues.

I would like to offer my appreciation and thanks to all the individuals and organizations who have posted historical scientific information on the Internet. I also wish to thank all of the book dealers who helped me accumulate my personal library of books and prints.

There is no charge for any of these materials if used for educational purposes. All I ask is that my name and copyright information be retained on the slides.

A historical look at the Atomic Theory

A historical look at the Periodic Classification

A histoical look at Acids and Bases

A historical look at Electrochemistry

A historical look at Thermodynamics

Nuclear Chemistry contains the history sections of my class PowerPoint from the development of X-rays to nuclear weapons



Back to the previous papers on history of Chemistry