Over the past two centuries chemistry has developed from germinal speculations on the nature of gases and minerals to a highly complex discipline encompassing numerous areas of study. This authoritative and comprehensive volume traces the historical development of chemistry from its roots in ancient Greek theory to the revolutionary and explosive discoveries of the 20th century. The author, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and History of Science at the University of Wisconsin, places the role of alchemy as a "precursor" to chemistry and technological arts. This book also shows how discoveries concerning gases in the mid-18th century were pivotal in creating the foundations of chemistry as a modern science.
Professor Ihde delves into many other fascinating aspects of chemistry's development as a science. Thus, this unique book:
• shows how the errors of alchemy were eventually divorced from chemistry
• examines the numerous individuals who contributed to centuries of progress in the theory and application of chemistry
• places important discoveries in the context of contemporaneous political, economic, and social development
• provides lucid explanations of important theoretical concepts
• demonstrates chemistry's central role among the modern sciences
Many historians of chemistry focus largely on the material philosophies of the ancient Greeks and the long period of alchemical activity. While including such essential aspects of ancient contributions, Dr. Ihde concentrates heavily on developments that occupied after Joseph Black laid the foundations of quantitative analysis in the mid-18th century. The discoveries of John Dalton, Justus von Liebig, Jöns Jakob Berzelius, and many others are examined in the context of their relationship to the development of organic, inorganic, analytical, physical, and industrial chemistry.
Its extraordinary thorough and lucid coverage of the myriad aspects of modern chemistry makes the moderately priced paperbound edition an ideal supplementary text for high-school and college-level courses, as well as a stimulating, highly readable book for the interested layman.
Reprint of the Harper & Row, New York, 1964 edition.