Brown Bag Lectures: Fall 2010
Brown Bag Lectures (BBLs) are a series of weekly, informal talks by CHF fellows and members of the academic and business communities on topics involving the history of chemistry, political and social issues of importance to chemists and chemical engineers, and issues affecting the future of chemical research.
The below pages represent a full listing of the BBLs held during the Fall 2010 season.
The Brown Bag Lecture Series is a project of the Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry and the Othmer Library of Chemical History.
For additional information on BBLs, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 28, 2010
This talk focused on the appropriation of affinity by those interested in chemical mineralogy. Drawing on the work of Ursula Klein and Matthew Eddy, Stewart explored the ways in which doctors, fossil collectors, artisans, and natural historians used affinity in the commodification of natural resources and at the same time contributed to a complex and ever-changing affinity doctrine.
October 5, 2010
In this Brown Bag Lecture, CHF joined the smelling committees of Chicago and New York as they endeavored to find the sources of “intolerable, pestilence-breeding stench” in the 1860s and 1880s. Within the framework of city government and the nascent public-health movement, did chemists have a voice and the ability to change the air? Or were elected officials more swayed by public noses than official ones?
This presentation examined the tragicomic history of rainmakers, weather warriors, and climate engineers, arguing that “history matters” in pressing issues of current public policy concern and technical decision-making.
The professionalization of science in the late-19th century introduced the enduring conception of “scientists” and “non-scientists” as distinct types of people with different educational needs. In subsequent decades, educators engaged in a systematic quest to codify, normalize, and apply ideas about the unique characteristics of each group and how each was expected to make use of scientific knowledge.
Brown Bag Lecture: Vangelis Koutalis, “Humphry Davy’s Last Days: The Chemist as a Philosopher and a ‘Dreamer of Dreams’”
The Nonclassical Ion Controversy lasted for over 20 years and engaged some of the most influential and well-respected physical organic chemists.
The intertwinement of teaching and research is an icon of the German university system that only emerged during the nineteenth century. The chemist Robert Wilhelm Bunsen (1811–1899) was a prominent figure in this regard: He did outstanding research and was praised as an ingenious teacher. Nawa’s objective was to show that Bunsen’s way of teaching created a new form of experimental lectures in the physical sciences and served as a model for subsequent university teachers.
This lecture examined research that aims to study the actual attitude of the Spanish Inquisition toward astrology and alchemy, through an analysis of inquisitorial trials of men who were accused of being astrologers or of practicing alchemy, in order to identify accusations against specific people, and the contents that caused certain astrological and alchemical texts to be forbidden or expurgated.
Medical foods are specially formulated nutritional products to be ingested under the supervision of a physician to treat disease. This talk focused on the development of the first medical food, an infant formula called Lofenalac to treat phenylketonuria (PKU).
In this talk, Williamson described how designers, engineers, and manufacturers directed technological innovation toward the cause of greater independence for people with physical abilities from the postwar period to end of the century. Sometimes employing cutting-edge new materials and devices, sometimes revisiting more conventional tools, these American producers sought technical solutions that would fit a diverse array of body shapes, sizes, and abilities.