Article ID: CBB005808365

A Different Kind of Nierenstein Reaction: The Chemical Society’s Mistreatment of Maximilian Nierenstein (2021)


Between 1920 and 1922, the University of Bristol biochemist, Maximilian Nierenstein, published four papers in a series exploring the structure of catechin in the Journal of the Chemical Society. The Society then abruptly refused to accept any more of his papers on catechin, or any other subject. It provided him with no reasons for the embargo until 1925. It then transpired that Nierenstein was boycotted because it was deemed that he had not responded adequately to criticisms of his work made by his rival in catechin research, the German natural products chemist, Karl Freudenberg. It was not until 1929 that, as a result of a petition by a group of his former Bristol pupils and friends, that Nierenstein was again permitted to publish in the Society’s journal. The paper explores the Chemical Society’s treatment of Nierenstein in detail, sheds new light on his career and his reaction to the Society’s unprecedented boycott, examines some of the structural chemistry involved in the disputes, and discusses whether Nierenstein’s research deserves the label of ‘bad science’.

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Authors & Contributors
Deichmann, Ute
Brock, William H.
Weber, Marcel
Ungar, Sheldon
Bray, Dennis
Rayner-Canham, Marelene F.
Bulletin for the History of Chemistry
Historia Scientiarum: International Journal of the History of Science Society of Japan
Biology and Philosophy
Public Understanding of Science
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Foundations of Chemistry
Boydell & Brewer
Editions EHESS
Académie Royale de Belgique
Tinta da China
Controversies and disputes
Publishers and publishing
Scholarly journals
Experiments and experimentation
Feyerabend, Paul K.
Kuhn, Thomas S.
Fischer, Emil Hermann
Ehrlich, Paul
Oparin, Aleksandr
Müller, Hermann Joseph
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
20th century
20th century, late
17th century
21st century
Great Britain
Soviet Union
United States
Vilnius (Lithuania or Poland)
Chemical Society, London
Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain
Cambridge University
Royal Society of Chemistry
Biochemical Society, London
Society of Chemical Industry

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