In 2019, the 150th anniversary of Mendeleev’s first publication of the Periodic Table of Elements will be celebrated, and UNESCO has declared 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table. Of the many publications dealing with the history of the Periodic Table, few texts deal with women’s contributions. We are planning a collective volume on women and their contribution to the building and the understanding of the Periodic Table and of the elements themselves. The volume has the title Women in their Element: Selected Women’s Contributions to the Periodic System and will be edited by Annette Lykknes and Brigitte Van Tiggelen.

However, while a book on women’s work will help make historical women chemists more visible, we do not intend to create new stories of heroines in the sciences. Rather, we would like to shed light on the multifaceted character of the work on the chemical elements and their periodic relationships. Stories of female input, we believe, will contribute to the understanding of the nature of science, of collaboration as opposed to the traditional depiction of the lone genius.

While the discovery of elements will be a natural part of our collective work, we aim to go beyond discovery histories. We are seeking stories of female contributors to the chemistry of the elements, to understanding the concept of element, identifying properties, developing analytical methods, finding applications of elements and their impact on health and environment, and other ways in which women’s contributions are intertwined with the history of the Periodic Table and the chemical elements.

There are two primary readerships for this book: academics in the history of science (a specialist readership) and historically interested, science-curious adult audiences (an advanced readership). This book will also be a useful reference tool for those who want to introduce historical aspects or insights in the teaching of chemistry, at undergraduate or even high school level.

As for the selection of women, we aim to include pre-periodic table contributions as well as recent discoveries, unknown stories as well as more famous ones. The main emphasis will understandably be on work conducted in the late 19th century and 20th century. Furthermore, we intend to include elements from different groups in the periodic table, so as to represent a variety of chemical contexts. We propose to include c. 35 contributions of 4-5 printed pages each, including illustrations.

If you are interested in contributing a chapter to this volume, please send an abstract of 250-500 words to [email protected] no later than 20 August. The selection will be made no later than 1 September.

Tentative schedule:

15 October: Deadline for submission of manuscript

15 November: Result of review of manuscripts

20 December: Deadline for submission of final version of book chapter