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.

Description of the Divisions logo

The five-ball apparatus developed by Justus Liebig in 1830 simplified chemical elemental analysis and enabled research-based laboratory lessons. The instrument, also known as the potash apparatus, soon became the international symbol of the self-image of the chemical profession. For those interested in the mode of operation and performance of the five-ball apparatus, please 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 :


  • the messages
  • the chemical history 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).


Call for donations "Liebig Museum"

after fire on December 05, 2022


GDCh-Wissenschaftsforum Chemie 2023

04.09.-06.09., Leipzig

Symposium "Rethinking History of Chemistry: Faszinierende Geschichten für die Zukunft"
mit FG Seniorexperten Chemie (SEC)
o, 04.09., 14.10 - 17.20 Uhr


13th International Conference on History of Chemistry 2023 (13ICHC)

05/23 - 27.05., Vilnius/Lithuania more

Book Series "Lifetime Achievements in Chemistry"

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

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: 03.03.2023 13:59 H from N/A