Article ID: CBB001214165

A Refuge for Inorganic Chemistry: Bunsen's Heidelberg Laboratory (2014)


Nawa, Christine (Author)

Ambix: Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry
Volume: 61, no. 2
Issue: 2
Pages: 115-140

Publication Date: 2014
Edition Details: Part of a special issue, “Sites of Chemistry in the Nineteenth Century”
Language: English

Immediately after its opening in 1855, Bunsen's Heidelberg laboratory became iconic as the most modern and best equipped laboratory in Europe. Although comparatively modest in size, the laboratory's progressive equipment made it a role model for new construction projects in Germany and beyond. In retrospect, it represents an intermediate stage of development between early teaching facilities, such as Liebig's laboratory in Giessen, and the new `chemistry palaces' that came into existence with Wöhler's Göttingen laboratory of 1860. As a `transition laboratory,' Bunsen's Heidelberg edifice is of particular historical interest. This paper explores the allocation of spaces to specific procedures and audiences within the laboratory, and the hierarchies and professional rites of passage embedded within it. On this basis, it argues that the laboratory in Heidelberg was tailored to Bunsen's needs in inorganic and physical chemistry and never aimed at a broad-scale representation of chemistry as a whole. On the contrary, it is an example of early specialisation within a chemical laboratory preceding the process of differentiation into chemical sub-disciplines. Finally, it is shown that the relatively small size of this laboratory, and the fact that after ca. 1860 no significant changes were made within the building, are inseparably connected to Bunsen's views on chemistry teaching.

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Article García-Belmar, Antonio (2014) Sites of Chemistry in the Nineteenth Century. Ambix: Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry (pp. 109-114). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Brock, William H.
Norbert Kuhn
Eberhard Schweda
Salvia, Stefano
Oldham, Kalil T. Swain
Nawa, Christine
Ambix: Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry
Ziran Kexueshi Yanjiu (Studies in the History of Natural Sciences)
Royal Society of Chemistry Historical Group Newsletter
Osmanli Bilimi Arastirmalari: Studies in Ottoman Science
Osiris: A Research Journal Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, Fachgruppe Geschichte der Chemie
Universität Regensburg
Springer Science + Business Media
Reaktion Books
Franz Steiner Verlag
Deutsches Museum
Science education and teaching
Inorganic chemistry
Cross-national interaction
Bunsen, Robert Wilhelm von
Liebig, Justus von
Wohlwill, Emil
Wöhler, Friedrich
Smith, Alexander
Mitscherlich, Eilhard
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
18th century
20th century, early
Early modern
Great Britain
Heidelberg Universität
Tübingen. Universität
University of Chicago
Universität Bonn

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