Article ID: CBB000650440

Catalytic Chemistry under Stalin: Science and Scientists in Times of Repression (2005)


Zaitseva, Elena A. (Author)
Homburg, Ernst (Author)

Ambix: Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry
Volume: 52
Pages: 45--65

Publication Date: 2005
Edition Details: Special Issue: Shifting Centres and Emerging Peripheries
Language: English

From the end of the 1920s until Stalin's death in 1953, many groups and individuals were strongly repressed in the Soviet Union, scientists included. This paper investigates the acts of repression against some of the leading scientists in catalysis --- a field in which Soviet chemists played an important role. V. N. Ipat'ev went into exile, A. A. Balandin spend many years in prison camps, N. N. Semenov, the later Nobel laureate, was seriously humiliated, and S. Z. Roginskii and F. F. Volkenshtein were demoted, and replaced by people from the second rank. Despite these negative actions against the leaders of catalytic science and industry in the country, Soviet scientists made some major contribution to catalysis, especially by formulating theories of heterogeneous catalytic reactions. Important examples are the multiplet theory developed by Balandin, Semenov's chain theory, and the electronic theory of Roginskii and Volkenshtein. In order to understand this striking contradiction between the political repression and these scientific successes, the paper emphasises the economic importance of catalysis and the large scale funding of science by the Stalin regime.

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Article Homburg, Ernst (2005) Shifting Centres and Emerging Peripheries: Global Patterns in Twentieth-Century Chemistry. Ambix: Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry (p. 3). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Pollock, Ethan
Gordin, Michael D.
Brooks, Nathan M.
Simon Ings
Johnson, Ian
Tromly, Benjamin
Ambix: Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry
Slavic Review
Scientia Canadensis: Journal of the History of Canadian Science, Technology, and Medicine
Science in Context
Metascience: An International Review Journal for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science
University of Pittsburgh Press
Simon & Schuster
Princeton University Press
Imperial College Press
Grove Press
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Science and politics
Science and industry
Cold War
Arms race
Stalin, Joseph
Truman, Harry S.
Vavilov, Nikolai Ivanovich
Orlov, Ivan E.
Lysenko, Trofim Denisovich
Khruschchev, Nikita Sergeyevich
Time Periods
20th century, early
20th century
20th century, late
Soviet Union
United States
Arctic regions
Eastern Europe
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

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