history of chemistry

Who we are - What we do

The modern knowledge society presents us with the task of understanding scientific and mechanization as part of our contemporary culture. This of course includes a historical record. Here lies the task and challenge for the history of chemistry as part of the history of science and technology. The history of chemistry thus contributes to understanding between the scientific and technical intelligentsia on the one hand and the humanities and social science intelligentsia on the other. Their alienation has been lamented often enough since CP Snow coined the phrase "two cultures" in 1959. The promotion of dialogue between the cultures of modern, differentiated society is therefore one of the most urgent tasks of our time.

Short link to this page: www.gdch.de/geschichte

tasks and goals

The Division of History of Chemistry is an association of people interested in the history of chemistry and part of the GDCh organization. The Division sees as its main tasks:


  • to awaken an understanding of the historical view of chemistry
  • to stimulate and promote chemical historical investigations
  • to promote the study of the history of chemistry at universities
  • To give suggestions and support for the use of historical topics in school lessons
  • to inform about the history of chemistry
  • to promote contacts and the exchange of experiences among the members and with foreign colleagues
  • To support efforts to archive legacies relevant to the history of chemistry.

Impressions GDCh Science Forum Chemistry 2023

Symposium "Rethinking History of Chemistry"
Monday, September 4th

Monday, September 4th
Tuesday, September 5th
Wednesday, September 6th

Description of the Divisions logo

The five-sphere apparatus developed by Justus Liebig in 1830 simplified chemical elemental analysis and enabled research-based laboratory teaching. The instrument, also known as the potassium apparatus, soon became an international symbol of the chemical profession's self-image. Anyone interested in the workings and performance of the five-sphere apparatus should refer to: Melvyn Usselman, Alan Rocke, Christina Reinhart, Kelly Foulser, "Restaging Liebig. A Study in the Replication of Experiments", Annals of Science 62 (2005), 1-55 .


The Board consists of the chairman, his deputy and at least one but not more than five assessors. more

Awards and honors

As part of the lecture conference, the Bettina Haupt-Förderpreis for the history of chemistry is awarded every two years.



The Division publishes:


  • the communications of the Division of History of Chemistry
  • the chemical historical calendar
  • the lectures of the events "Contemporary Witness Reports" (discontinued )


Industrial circle

This working group has set itself the goal of giving the history of the chemical industry and technology a higher priority (discontinued).


Lecture conference history of chemistry 2024

03/21 - 22.03., Gießen more

Book Series "Lifetime Achievements in Chemistry"

Recording of the launch event (09/07/21)
home page
press release

Historical sites of chemistry

GDCh program for the recognition of achievements in chemistry of historical importance since 1999

Call for donations "Liebig Museum"

after fire on December 05, 2022


Strong professorships for the history of science

Explanation of the historical Divisions of the natural scientific societies in Germany


GDCh Office
Dipl.-Biol. Nicole Bürger
Tel .: +49 69 7917-231
Email: n.buerger@gdch.de

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last modified: 14.09.2023 09:59 H from N/A