History of Chemistry

Who we are – What we do

Our modern society of knowledge prompts us to understand the tasks, scientification and mechanization as part of our culture today. Certainly this includes the acquisition of historical data. Here lies the task and challenge of chemistry history as a part of the history of science and technology. Thus, chemistry history contributes towards the understanding between natural scientific-technical intelligence on the one hand and the intelligence garnered through the liberal arts and social sciences on the other hand. Their alienation has often been lamented ever since C.P. Snow coined the expression of “two cultures” in 1959. Thus, promoting the dialogue between the cultures of a modern, sophisticated society is one of the most urgent tasks of our time.

Tasks and Aims

The ‘History of Chemistry’ is an association of individuals interested in the history of chemistry and is a division of the German Chemical Society (GDCh). The main tasks of the division are to:

  • Arouse the understanding for an historical consideration of chemistry
  • Stimulate and promote chemical historical studies
  • Support the engagement with the history of chemistry at universities
  • Provide impulses and support for the incorporation of historical themes in school lessons;
  • Inform about the history of chemistry
  • Promote the contacts and exchange of experiences among members as well as foreign colleagues
  • and to Support the efforts for archiving estates that are relevant to chemical history



Description of the Division’s Logo

The five-ball apparatus, developed by Justus Liebig in 1830, simplified chemical elementary analysis and enabled a research-supported laboratory training. Also called the Kali apparatus, this instrument soon became the international symbol of the self-image of the chemical profession. For those interested in learning more about the operation and performance of the five-ball apparatus, confer: Melvyn Usselman, Alan Rocke, Christina Reinhart, Kelly Foulser, "Restaging Liebig. A Study in the Replication of Experiments", Annals of Science 62 (2005), 1-55.



Executive Board

The executive board consists of the chair, vice chair and at least one (1) but no more than five (5) board members.


Awards and Honors

The Bettina Haupt Advancement Award for the History of Chemistry is conferred every two years during the symposium. 



The division publishes

• the notifications
• the Chemical Historical Calendar
• talks of the events “Reports by Contemporaries”


Industry Work Group

This work group aims to give a higher profile to the history of chemical industry and technology.


zuletzt geändert am: 30.05.2018 09:55 Uhr von N.Bürger