CHF Receives Record Number of Fellowship Applications in the History of Science

Othmer Library at CHF where scholars work

March 1, 2013 - Philadelphia

The Beckman Center for History of Chemistry at the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) received a record number of applications for fellowships in the 2013-2014 academic year.  More than 70 researchers applied for fellowships. The previous high was 44, and the average number of applicants was 40 in recent years.  

Since 2011 CHF has led the nation in granting pre- and post-doctorate fellowships to scholars in the history of science in the United States. In the coming year CHF will provide 18 fellowships: 10 short-term and 8 long-term fellows will receive grants totaling more than $300,000.

CHF's support of fellows began in the 1988–89 academic year with just one fellow supported by a grant from the Sidney Edelstein Foundation. Seymour H. Mauskopf of Duke University received a grant to study the history of explosives and gunpowder. In the 22 years since that first fellowship, the scholars program at CHF has grown to the largest of its kind in the United States: nearly 200 scholars have received short- and long-term grants from CHF since 1988.

“By endowing fellowships, many of our very generous donors have created a lasting legacy of advancing research in the history of science,” said Thomas R. Tritton, CHF's president and CEO. “While many programs have cut or eliminated funding for research in the history of science, our fellowship program has risen to national leadership because of the generosity and foresight of our donors.”

CHF had twelve applications from outside of the United States: four from the United Kingdom, two from Canada, and one each from Brazil, Spain, Finland, Greece, France, and Italy.  In addition five applications came from scholars at the University of Pennsylvania; three each from Princeton, Rutgers, and Cornell; and two each from Harvard, Temple, Columbia, and NYU. Most of these applicants heard about CHF fellowships through direct contact: by talking to one of our staff directly or to a former fellow.  

“CHF is filling a growing gap in funding for education and scholarship in the humanities,” said Carin Berkowitz, associate director of CHF's Beckman Center. “CHF is a relatively young institution that is supporting many talented scholars in the history of science. That support isn’t available anywhere else right now.”

About the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry

The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry comprises a dynamic community of scholars interested in the history and social studies of chemistry, broadly construed. It is the home of academic programming at CHF, including a weekly talk series (Brown Bag Lectures), a book series in the history of chemistry put out by the University of Chicago Press (Synthesis), an annual conference organized by a leading scholar in the history of science community (the Gordon Cain Conference), and occasional conferences and workshops by leading historians of chemistry who are interested in working with CHF’s staff and whose work appeals to the broader scholarly community at CHF.

The Beckman Center is also home to CHF’s fellows, of whom there are roughly 18 annually, making the Beckman Center the largest private fellowship program in the history of science in the United States. The Beckman Center, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2012, is proud to count among its alumni a long list of distinguished researchers. The center also offers travel grants to support one or two weeks of research using CHF’s collections.

About the Chemical Heritage Foundation

The Chemical Heritage Foundation is a collections-based nonprofit organization that preserves the history and heritage of chemistry, chemical engineering, and related sciences and technologies. The collections are used to create a body of original scholarship that illuminates chemistry’s role in shaping society. In bridging science with the humanities, arts, and social sciences, CHF is committed to building a vibrant, international community of scholars; creating a rich source of traditional and emerging media; expanding the reach of our museum; and engaging the broader society through inventive public events.


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