Brown Bag Lectures (BBLs)

Brown Bag LecturesBrown Bag Lectures (BBLs) are a series of weekly, informal talks on the history of chemistry or related subjects, including the history and social studies of science, technology, and medicine. Based on original research (sometimes still in progress), these talks are given by local scholars for an audience of CHF staff and fellows and interested members of the public.

All BBLs begin promptly at noon on the second or sixth floor of CHF. Visitors should check at the front desk for the lecture's location. Latecomers will not be admitted.

The Brown Bag Lecture Series is a project of the Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry and the Othmer Library of Chemical History.

Spring 2016

February 1: Stefano Gattei, “Vincenzo Viviani and the Beginning of Galileo’s Mythography

February 22: Simon Werrett, “Household Oeconomy and Chemical Inquiry, 1760 to 1840

March 14: Jenny Beckman, “The Publication Strategies of Jöns Jacob Berzelius (1779–1848)

March 21: Roksana Filipowska, “Plastic Design, Soft Diplomacy: The Role of Plastics in the ‘Normalization’ of Czechoslovakia, 1971–1975

March 28: Roger Eardley-Pryor, “Creating Klaus Schulten’s Computational Microscope: A Beckman Legacy in Illinois

April 4: Ramya Rajagopalan, “Making Drugs Work Better:  Warfarin, DNA, and the Clinical Pursuit of Precision Medicine

April 11: Michael Rossi, “Small Lies for Big Truths: Color Standards in American Industry, Education, and Government, 1890–1930

April 18: Donna Bilak, “Material Literacy and the Role of Reconstruction in History of Science Scholarship: ‘Making and Knowing’ in the Lab

April 25: Nathalie Jas, “Segmentation of Issues as Process of Invisibilization: The Case of Pesticides

May 2: Nicholas Shapiro, “Plant to Plant to Plant or Some Modes of Chemo-Capital Succession

*DATE CHANGE* May 19: Eva Hemmungs Wirtén, “Otlet’s Order: Intellectual Property and the Bibliographical Imagination

May 23: Francesco Gerali, “Petroleum in the Modern Age: A Puzzle That Lasted Four Centuries

For information on past BBLs, please visit the pages below or contact


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