Philosophy of Chemistry (Hardcover)
Synthesis of a New Discipline (Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science #242)
Springer, 9781402032561, 362pp.
Publication Date: September 1, 2011
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The Invisibility of Chemistry DAVIS BAIRD South Carolina Honors College, University of South Carolina ERIC SCERRI Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles LEE MCINTYRE Center for Philosophy and History of Science, Boston University BUTWHATAREALLTHOSECHEMISTSDOING? Recently, one of us (Davis Baird) attended a meeting of historians of science and technology spanning all of the natural sciences and engineering and all (western) periods, ancient through contemporary. In the discussion of a paper on state-of-t- art history of modern (18th century forward) chemistry, a member of the audience made the claim that there was very little left to do in contemporary chemistry and that chemistry departments in his country were having trouble attracting graduate students. Baird found this perspective on contemporary chemistry both remarkable andimplausible, andsaidasmuch. AttheUniversityofSouthCarolina(USC)--where he teaches--chemistry enrolls, and graduates, ?ve times as many graduate students as physics. In this, USC is not unique. The discipline of chemistry is, in fact, enormous and enormously productive. Joachim Schummer in this volume (Chapter 2) makes the point persuasively and concisely with data on the number of publications in various ?elds. With a grand total just shy of 900,000 papers indexed in chemical abstracts for the year 2000, chemistry is larger than all of the other natural sciences combined.