Brown Bag Lectures: Spring 2011
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 Spring 2011 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.
January 11, 2011
A sneak preview of the talk that was given at the global kickoff of the International Year of Chemistry in Paris at the end of January.
In the late 19th century the Russian plant physiologist Sergei Winogradsky (1856–1953) developed a novel perspective on the “role of microbes in the general cycle of life.” He applied new instruments, techniques, and theories of organic chemistry to investigating the physiology of microorganisms. His research culminated in his discovery of an inorganic respiration that became known as chemosynthesis.
February 8, 2011
This talk examined prominent invocations of the chemistry and origins of life made from the early 1920s to the early 1940s, with an eye toward their later adoption in more sweeping natural histories and representations of scientific organization.
February 15, 2011
This talk examined Giovanni Aldini’s experiments with Galvanism and the sensation they created, as well as their reappropriation as a cultural object by newspapers and by other experimenters who refashioned them into popular instructive entertainments.
February 22, 2011
This talk explored the contexts of mercury-based therapeutics for syphilis in Japan, tracing the material and cultural flows of drugs and medical practices through the East Asian region and the early modern world.
March 1, 2011
Many scholars have argued that there was a dramatic transformation in the global political economy sometime during the 1970s. This talk examined such changes, focusing on the U.S.-Japan relationships within the semiconductor industry during the transient period from the 1950s to the 1990s.
March 8, 2011
This talk explored the early popularity and later downfall of the antimicrobial chemical compound hexachlorophene.
March 15, 2011
The talk focused on the earliest uses of the Marsh test for arsenic and the controversy surrounding “normal arsenic,” that is, the existence of traces of arsenic in healthy human bodies.
March 22, 2011
This talk examined the system of visual displays that was used in 19th-century anatomy both in the development of new knowledge and in the teaching and conveying of established knowledge.
April 5, 2011
This talk explored the historical links between mid-20th-century concerns about the “natural” world and breastfeeding.
April 12, 2011
This talk explored how, in the Age of Beethoven, musicians and scientists alike probed the limits of the knowable and turned to technology to extend its boundaries.
April 9, 2011
This talk presented a history of interest in and enthusiasm for plant breeding using the chemical colchicine, focusing on the years immediately following discovery of its effect on plant chromosomes.
April 26, 2011
In this talk, Amy Slaton examined how science and technology can continue to enlist uncritical support as sources of collective good in spite of less than promising outlooks.
May 10, 2011
This Brown Bag Lecture explored the chain of events culminating in RCA’s decision to abandon the LCD, from the perspective of the scientists, engineers, and managers associated with the project.
May 17, 2011
This talk examined how antibiotics and sulfa drugs affected medical research and practice and created new clinical problems because of the effects of the drugs on the “normal bacterial flora” of humans.
May 24, 2011
In this talk Megan Shields Formato examined the origins and effects of Neil Bohr’s particular writing practices, along with the ways that they have been accounted for by Bohr, his colleagues, and the secondary literature.