**** 6th International Conference on the History of Chemistry

Neighbours and territories The evolving identity of Chemistry


28 August – 1 September 2007

First Circular



The Working Party (WP) on History of Chemistry of the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences (EuCheMS) will hold its bi-annual History of Chemistry Conference in Leuven between 28 August and 1 September 2007. The conference will mainly focus on the disciplinary identity of chemistry and the changing relationships with other fields. A major aim of the conferences organised by the WP is to facilitate communication between historically interested chemists and historians of chemistry from all over Europe. Previous conferences organised by the Working Party were held in Budapest in September 2003 (Communication in chemistry in Europe) and Lisbon in September 2005 (Chemistry, Technology and Society).


Throughout its history, chemistry has been shifting ground between different territories. From its roots in artisan technology, pharmaceutical workshops and alchemical philosophy, it developed into the archetypical laboratory science of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, claiming full academic status. Chemists invaded many new fields, from agriculture and industry, to medicine, public hygiene and pharmacology. In the twentieth century, chemistry contributed to the major developments in molecular biology, quantum mechanics, environmental science and nanotechnology. But it also gained a key position in the oil industry, the fabrication of plastics and pharmaceutical research. This broad and continuous adaptation of the discipline to various fields of expertise, has brought chemistry in close contact with neighbouring disciplines and social pressures. Time and again, chemists have needed to carve out their territory, to negotiate with other specialists, and to claim particular expertise in widely diverging fields. The conference aims at a better understanding of the territories claimed by chemistry and its shifting boundaries with other disciplines.

Plenary lectures on aspects of the conference theme will be given by Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent (Université Paris IX – Nanterre), Ernst Homburg (Universiteit Maastricht), Lawrence Principe (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore) and Ana Simões (Universidade de Lisboa).

TOPICS AND SUBTOPICS (1) Territories – Building a disciplinary identity-

a. Making a base for chemistry: making institutions for chemistry: the emergence of teaching and research institutions, societies, chemical journals, etc., b. Making pedagogy: Teaching practices and textbooks, laboratory teaching, seminars, moral economies of chemistry, disciplining bodies and minds, pedagogical tools and models (such as Lewis diagrams, 3-D models, etc.), making standard problems, making a collective memory, commemorative practices, history in chemistry classrooms c. Making connections: travels of learning, correspondence, chemical literature, chemistry as a communicative practice, circulating chemical knowledge d. Making standards: Creating standard paper tools and laboratory practices, standardizing the language (terminological reforms, chemical terminology and symbols) creating international units, stabilizing instruments, experts practices, etc.

(2) Neighbours and borders Crossing, merging and negotiating disciplinary borders.

a. Making the borders: chemistry and its changing relationships with other disciplines (experimental physics, medicine, pharmacy, technology, mineralogy, metallurgy, etc.), boundary objects, landscapes and labscapes, trading zones, etc. b. Crossing and negotiating new borders: Early-modern chemistry and pharmacy, medicine, metallurgy, mineralogy, experimental physics. Nineteenth and twentieth century specialities and sub-disciplines: biochemistry, analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, etc. c. Negotiating new identities: Past & Present: (I) Past: Alchemy, chymistry, chemistry and the artificial reproduction of nature d. Negotiating new identities: Past & Present: (II) Present: Twentieth century chemistry: “Redissolving back to the origins” / Chemistry: a temporary union

The final shape of the sessions will largely depend on the submitted papers. Specific sessions (chairman + 3 /4 papers) on topics related to the meeting main theme can be suggested to the programme committee ([email protected]). Both paper and poster sessions are planned. Submitted abstracts will be evaluated simultaneously for both kinds of sessions.

Scientific Committee

Marco BERETTA, Università di Bologna, Italy. José Ramón BERTOMEU-SÁNCHEZ, Universitat de València, Spain (chair). Ana CARNEIRO, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal. Ursula KLEIN, Max Planck Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin, Germany. Laurence LESTEL, Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, Paris, France. Anders LUNDGREN, Uppsala Universitet, Sweden. Peter MORRIS, Science Museum, London. Carsten REINHARDT, Universität Regensburg, Germany. Sona STRBÁNOVÁ, Ústav pro soudobé dìjiny, Akademie vìd Èeské republiky, Prague, Czech Republic. Brigitte Van TIGGELEN, Université catholique de Louvain, Mémosciences asbl.

Local Commitee

Kenneth BERTRAMS, Université Libre de Bruxelles, B. Hendrik DEELSTRA, Universiteit Antwerpen, B (honorary chairman). Ernst HOMBURG, Universiteit Maastricht, NL. Adriaan MINDERHOUD, Chemiehistorische Groep KNCV, NL. Geert VANPAEMEL, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, B. Brigitte Van TIGGELEN, Université catholique de Louvain, Mémosciences asbl, B (chairwoman).


Ø Location

The meeting will take place in the charming small town of Leuven (population 80,000) which is an interesting historical site in Belgium. As the former medieval capital of the region and the location of the oldest university of the Low Countries (founded in 1425), it has preserved many monuments and buildings from the fifteenth century. Leuven is now a main centre for high tech industrial research (e.g. IMEC for micro-electronics) and harbours one of the most important brewery industries of the world Leuven is situated at about 30 km from Brussels and is easily accessible by train. Brussels airport is only 20 minutes away by car and even less by train (15 minutes). Further information can be found at www.kuleuven.be or www.leuven.be.

Ø Dates

Tuesday 28/08/07 Sa 01/09/07

Ø Conference fees

Before May 15th 2007 After May 15th 2007 Conference fees 135 € 170 € Accompanying person 115€ 150 € Conference Dinner 50 € 50 €

Conference fees include: – registration and conference documents – coffee breaks – lunches – welcome party – guided tour through the city of Leuven Fees for accompanying person include: – lunches – welcome party – guided tour of the city of Leuven

Information on the excursion for the Saturday will be provided in the next circular (place and price). For a limited number of students and scholars lower fees are available. Application forms (available on the conference website) should be send to the Local Committee, Brigitte Van Tiggelen (see email address below).

Ø Accommodation

Leuven offers a number of hotels in different price categories. It is possible to find single rooms for less than ¬100.00. Actual prices range from ¬35.00 to ¬200.00 depending on the number of stars and level of comfort. Some student rooms (¬17.00 to ¬20.00 at the time being) are also available but have to be booked well ahead since August and beginning of September are tourist season months. Additional information will be provided in the second circular.

Ø Website http://www.6ICHC.be

Ø Contact

(a) For questions concerning the Programme:

Dr. José Ramón Bertomeu-Sánchez, the Chairman of the International Programme Committee, at [email protected]

(b) For question concerning the Local arrangements:

Dr. Brigitte Van Tiggelen [email protected] Dr. Geert Vanpaemel: [email protected]

DEADLINES Scholars who want to present a 20 minutes paper at the conference are invited to submit a one-page abstract to the Programme Committee before 1 February 2007. The instructions to authors will be available at: http://www.6ICHC.be To submit your abstract, as well as for questions concerning the scientific programme, please contact José Ramón Bertomeu-Sánchez, the Chairman of the International Programme Committee, at [email protected]. The members of the International Programme Committee will referee all abstracts, and authors will be informed about acceptance or rejection before 15 April 2007.