N° 442 July-August 2019

Preserving the memory of chemistry

Pagination : 34-35
Rubrique : IUPAC 2019 Paris, 7-12 July 2019 - Frontiers in Chemistry: let's create our future!
Sous-rubrique : IUPAC and chemistry: a century of intertwined history, a common heritage for the future (1919-2019)

Infra-red spectrometer created by Sir Harold Thompson in the 1930s at the University of Oxford. Collection of the Science Museum, London.

Ever since I left Oxford University with a DPhil in physical chemistry under my belt, my career has, in some way or other, been involved in preserving the history of chemistry. There can be no doubt of the importance of preserving the material culture of chemistry, which impinges on so many aspects of contemporary life.

It must not be thought that the history of chemistry touches only historians : one does not have to be an historian to be an historian of science. I would claim that all scientists are necessarily historians in so far as they refer constantly to what has been written about in the past.