Inventing Chemistry: Herman Boerhaave And The Reform Of The Chemical Arts

Paperback | March 7, 2016

byJohn C. Powers

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In Inventing Chemistry, historian John C. Powers turns his attention to Herman Boerhaave (1668–1738), a Dutch medical and chemical professor whose work reached a wide, educated audience and became the template for chemical knowledge in the eighteenth century. The primary focus of this study is Boerhaave’s educational philosophy, and Powers traces its development from Boerhaave’s early days as a student in Leiden through his publication of the Elementa chemiae in 1732. Powers reveals how Boerhaave restructured and reinterpreted various practices from diverse chemical traditions (including craft chemistry, Paracelsian medical chemistry, and alchemy), shaping them into a chemical course that conformed to the pedagogical and philosophical norms of Leiden University’s medical faculty. In doing so, Boerhaave gave his chemistry a coherent organizational structure and philosophical foundation and thus transformed an artisanal practice into an academic discipline. Inventing Chemistry is essential reading for historians of chemistry, medicine, and academic life.

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In Inventing Chemistry, historian John C. Powers turns his attention to Herman Boerhaave (1668–1738), a Dutch medical and chemical professor whose work reached a wide, educated audience and became the template for chemical knowledge in the eighteenth century. The primary focus of this study is Boerhaave’s educational philosophy, and Po...

John C. Powers is collateral assistant professor in the Department of History and assistant director of the Science, Technology, and Society Program at Virginia Commonwealth University.  

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:268 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.5 inPublished:March 7, 2016Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022638036X

ISBN - 13:9780226380360

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Chapter One
Medicine as a Calling

Chapter Two
Didactic Chemistry in Leiden

Chapter Three
The Institutes of Chemistry

Chapter Four
Chemistry in the Medical Faculty

Chapter Five
Instruments and the Experimental Method

Chapter Six
Philosophical Chemistry

Chapter Seven
From Alchemy to Chemistry

Conclusion
Boerhaave’s Legacy

Notes
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Herman Boerhaave was famous in the eighteenth century as the man who taught Europe chemistry, though he has been little studied since. John C. Powers has finally given him his due. In a work of meticulous and imaginative scholarship, he has shown how Boerhaave built his reputation by organizing chemistry for the purpose of pedagogy. In Boerhaave’s classroom, as Powers shows, chemistry shrugged off its alchemical heritage and emerged as a science of the Enlightenment.”