Download Chemistry in America 1876–1976: Historical Indicators by Arnold Thackray PDF

By Arnold Thackray

This examine is an outgrowth of our curiosity within the historical past of recent chemistry. The paucity of trustworthy, quantitative wisdom approximately earlier technology was once introduced domestic forcibly to us after we undertook a study seminar within the comparative heritage of contemporary chemistry in Britain, Germany, and the us. That seminar, which happened on the college of Pennsylvania within the spring of 1975, used to be paralleled by way of one dedicated to the paintings of the "Annales School". the 2 seminars jointly catalyzed the try to build historic measures of switch in features of 1 technological know-how, or "chem­ ical indicators". the current quantity screens our effects. possibly our labors should be such a lot usefully in comparison with the paintings of these scholars of medieval technological know-how who dedicate their most sensible efforts to the determine­ ment of texts. purely while applicable texts were produced from fragmentary and corrupt assets can students circulate directly to the extra enjoyable enterprise of constructing historical past. So too within the sleek interval, an important pre­ liminary to the total heritage of any clinical occupation is the constructing of trustworthy quantitative details within the kind of statistical sequence. This quantity doesn't supply background. as an alternative it presents convinced aspect- symptoms -- that could be invaluable to members drawn to the background of yankee chemistry and chemical undefined, and suggestive for policy.

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Chemistry has partaken of the education boom, but not as effectively as some other fields. 1-3 shows doctorates conferred in chemistry as well as in all fields and the natural sciences. 1-5 demonstrates by plotting the same data on semilogarithmic axes. 1-7). While exponential increases characterize the American academic system, there are dangers in being transfixed by the dramatic phenomenon of absolute growth. 1-8 reveals, chemistry has been subject to an enduring trend of relative decline for over half a century.

2-7. 2 yr. 1). Barriers to ACS entry were low, as those concerned with the articulation of professional and discplinary ideals sought recruits wherever they could find them among the larger body politic of chemists. 17 Mter a period of stagnation in the twenties and early thirties, membership in the American Chemical Society followed a quite different trend. Growth 15 As noted on p. 14 above, the Census statistics for "chemist" utilize a definition which excludes chemical engineers and chemistry faculty.

1960 28 CHAPTER 2 NUMBER (thousands) (500) .... ......... ~ 100 . ' . - .... / . . ' . . . 10 • 0 o ~ . -..... Members '. 014------+------+------+------+------+------+------t------+------t------+-----_+_ 1890 1900 1910 1930 1940 1950 1970 1870 1880 1920 1960 1980 YEAR Fig. 2~5. ACS members versus Census chemists, 1870~1979. S. Census and membership in the American Chemical Society are plotted together over time. 2-6 displays the ratio of these two series. This latter indicator illustrates the transformation of chemistry from a non-professional occupation in the 1890s to an almost wholly professional pursuit in the 1960s.

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