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American Chemical Society

Division of the History of Chemistry

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Welcome to the ACS Division of the History of Chemistry Homepage


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The ACS Division of the History of Chemistry (HIST) will celebrate its hundredth birthday as an ACS Division on January 1, 2022. Part of our celebration of HIST's Centennial Year is the online publication of a history of our first 100 years. This is planned as a thorough treatment of what happened before the division's formation, during the foundation, during its evolution and up to the present. The project will be open access and published online. Gary Patterson (gp9a@andrew.cmu.edu), the Editor, welcomes contributions: please send written material, photographs, ephemera, etc. to him and indicate if you wish to author a full or part chapter. Current projections are for fifty chapters.


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The Division of the History of Chemistry (HIST) recognizes the value of supporting the organization of symposia, conferences, or meetings that benefit the study and promotion of the history of chemistry. If you are organizing such an event and would like to request financial support (typically, $500 per traditional half-day session), please submit THIS FORM to the Division's Secretary-Treasurer, Dr. Vera Mainz (mainz@illinois.edu) no later than two weeks before the HIST Executive Committee meets to consider such requests (i.e., during the national ACS meetings, usually in late March and late August). Most successful requests are submitted at least six months before the actual symposium or conference takes place. It should not be expected that late submissions will be considered.


Jane A. Miller, a long-time friend and colleague, died Wednesday, March 17.
Jane was chair of HIST in 1977 and shepherded a HIST Bylaws revision through the approval process in 1988. Click HERE to access a memorial tribute by her colleagues.


The recipient of the 2021 HIST Award of the Division of the History of Chemistry of the American Chemical Society is Sister Dr. Mary Virginia Orna. This award is the successor to the Dexter Award (1956-2001) and the Sydney M. Edelstein Award (2002-2009), also administered by the Division of the History of Chemistry. The HIST Award will be presented to Sister Dr. Orna at the spring national meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Diego, CA, 2022.



Chemistry on Stamps Talk

HIST Past Chair Dan Rabinovich was invited by the American Philatelic Society to present one of his "Chemistry on Stamps" talks for their "APS Stamp Chat" series, and the video recording is now available on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCve5FxtoxU&t=427s). This is an enjoyable introduction to the myriad instances of chemistry that can be found on stamps. Please share with anyone who may be interested.


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The HIST award for the Outstanding Paper Award for 2017 has been awarded to Emeritus Prof. Carmen Giunta at Le Moyne College. The award is presented to the author of the best paper published in the Bulletin for the History of Chemistry during the previous three years, 2015, 2016, 2017.


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George B. Kauffman, a long-time friend and colleague, died Saturday, May 2, 2020. George won the Dexter Award in 1978, served as HIST Chair in 1970, and gave many talks at HIST sessions throughout the years. He will be missed.
Click HERE to access his obituary and HERE to read an article about George in the local Fresno newspaper. In lieu of flowers, Donations in his memory to The Union of Concerned Scientists are welcome and appreciated. https://www.ucsusa.org/


All Things Bakelite: The Age of Plastic celebrates Leo Baekeland, "The Father of Modern Plastic," his invention, Bakelite and its myriad descendants. The 59 minute documentary also addresses the plastic problem, and in the end, offers a view of essential solutions. There is a link to view the documentary in the flyer, HERE.


The Bulletin for the History of Chemistry v46(1), 2021, is now available to members. Check out the Table of Contents.

NOTE: HIST is making individual articles from the Bulletin for the History of Chemistry OPEN ACCESS and searchable EXCEPT for the last three years. These articles are available in the Open Access Directory.

Articles from the last three years are available via links from the Table of Contents for those issues FOR HIST MEMBERS AND SUBSCRIBERS ONLY. If you try to access an article, you will be prompted for a login and password. The login username is the email address you provided to the American Chemical Society and the password is your ACS member number.

If you have any problems, please email mainz@illinois.edu.

If you are not a member and want to order an individual article, please check the membership/back-issue order form.


Seth Rasmussen, Chair-Elect of the HIST Division, gave a HIST Tutorial on Tips and Advice for Starting Historical Research at the 2019 GLRM. If you are interested in starting research on a topic of interest in the history of chemistry, this powerpoint presentation will be an excellent beginning!

PLACES OF THE PERIODIC TABLE
Brought to you by Carmen Giunta and James Marshall, with the encouragement of the ACS Division of the History of Chemistry (HIST), to mark the International Year of the Periodic Table (IYPT).

This is an interactive searchable map of places associated with the developers of the periodic table and with the chemical elements with links to further information. Examples include places where elements were discovered or synthesized, mineral sources of elements, places where discoverers of chemical periodicity worked, and places for which elements were named. Each entry contains links to further information about the person, place, or event described. The type of site is indicated (for example, lab, residence, mineral source, etc.), as well as whether (to the best of our knowledge) the historical site still exists at the location. For more information on the type of site, please consult this key to the map's fields. The map is intended for educational and informational purposes only, and is not meant as a travel guide. If you wish to visit a site on this map, please consult other resources to confirm access, and use common sense.

A link to this site is also on the left-hand menu.


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Dr. Margaret Schott of Northwestern University gave a presentation on Katharine Burr Blodgett during the Ladies in Waiting symposium last August at the Washington national meeting. The University of Wisconsin - Madison has produced a podcast featuring Dr. Schott, in character as Katherine Burr Blodgett, being interviewed by Liz Laudadio at the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology. The podcast is available for download at http://podcast.sustainable-nano.com/blodgett.



The ACS has put together a series of videos featuring members of technical divisions to aid in division member recruitment. Carmen Giunta agreed to speak for HIST. To view the video click HERE.


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IsisCB Cumulative and IsisCB Explore

Accessible to anyone on the web, IsisCB Cumulative and IsisCB Explore are completely open access services smade possible by the History of Science Society with support from the University of Oklahoma.

IsisCB Cumulative is a digitized version of the Isis Cumulative Bibliography of the History of Science, 1913-1975. This is a companion to IsisCB Explore, which includes data from Isis Bibliographies from 1974 to the present.

These tools are based on the 100-year-old Isis Current Bibliography of the History of Scienceand will be expanded and updated annually. Additional Information.


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CASSI and Beyond

Have you ever struggled to figure out what the journal abbreviations "C.R." or "A." means? If so, help is now available. "Beyond CASSI" is a newly released document that contains short journal title abbreviations from early chemical literature and other historical reference sources that may not be listed in the print version of CAS Source Index (CASSI) or the free online CASSI Search Tool . Many thanks to Marion Peters, UCLA Librarian Emeritus, for compiling this list of old abbreviations and for working with Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) to make this document available on the CASSI Search Tool website (please see "About" section).

Other enhancements recently implemented by CAS to the CASSI search tool include:

  • Increased maximum number of results displayed from 50 to 100
  • Increased frequency of data updates from annually to quarterly

Hopefully, these enhancements will enable you to more quickly identify and confirm journal titles and abbreviations. As always, CAS appreciates your feedback and welcomes any additional input you would like to share via the in-product 'Contact Us' button.

Grace Baysinger, Chair of the ACS Committee on Chemical Abstracts Service and Chair of the ACS CINF Division's Education Committee


Articles in the Bulletin for the History of Chemistry concerning Citation for Chemical Breakthrough Awards:



The HIST Division archives are at the Science History Institute (formerly known as the Chemical Heritage Foundation). The finding aid is available HERE.


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Previous Announcements on this page.


Mission Statement

The Division of the History of Chemistry (HIST) of the American Chemical Society (ACS) seeks to advance knowledge and appreciation of the history of the chemical sciences among chemists, students, historians of science, and the broader public by