Chapter ID: CBB491371828

From Physical Chemistry to Chemical Physics, 1913-1941 (2016)


There has never been one unique name for the intersection of chemistry and physics. Nor has it ever been defined by a single, stable set of methods. Nevertheless, it is possible and arguably rewarding to distinguish changes in the constellation of terms and techniques that have defined the intersection over the years. I will speak today about one such change, the advent and ascendancy of chemical physics in the interwar period. When the young Friedrich Wilhelm Ostwald first began to formulate his campaign for “physical chemistry” in 1877, he used the term almost interchangeably with two others, “general chemistry” and “theoretical chemistry.” According to his vision of what would soon become a new chemical discipline, physical chemistry would investigate and formulate the general principles that underlie all chemical reactions and phenomena. The primary strategy that he and his allies used to generate these principles was to formulate mathematical “laws” or “rules” generalizing the results of numerous experiments, often performed using measuring apparatus borrowed from physics. Their main fields of inquiry were thermochemistry and solution theory, and they avoided and often openly maligned speculations regarding structures or mechanisms that might underlie the macroscopic regularities embodied in their laws

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Book Masanori Kaji; Yasu Furukawa; Hiroaki Tanaka; Yoshiyuki Kikuchi (2016) Transformation of Chemistry from the 1920s to the 1960s. unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Noboru Hirota
Mareike Smolka
Pellegrino, Emilio Marco
Alexandra Hausstein
Krešimir Molčanov
Kessenikh, Alexandr Vladimirovich
Substantia: An International Journal of the History of Chemistry
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Science, Technology, and Human Values
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Pavia University Press
University of Chicago Press
Trans Pacific Press
Oxford University Press
Leipziger Universitäts-Verlag
Physical chemistry
Development of science; change in science
Philosophy of science
Interdisciplinary approach to knowledge
Ostwald, Friedrich Wilhelm
Lippmaa, Endel
Mulliken, Robert Sanderson
Wald, Franz
Mach, Ernst
Time Periods
20th century, early
20th century
19th century
21st century
Prague (Czechia)
Soviet Union
Universität Leipzig

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