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American Chemical Society

Division of the History of Chemistry

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Historical Projects and Presentations Recommended by HIST Members


  • Women Chemists in the Inventors Hall of Fame

  • All Things Bakelite: The Age of Plastic
    This documentary 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.

  • Katharine Burr Blodgett
    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

  • Jane Marcet's Remarkable Conversations on Chemistry
    Marking the UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science in 2023, and on a topic which brings together his dual interests in the history of science and in rare and unusual chemistry books, Dr Peter Wothers (University of Cambridge) will reveal how in 1806 Jane Marcet defied the prejudices of her time to publish ‘Conversations on Chemistry, Intended More Especially for the Female Sex’.

  • St. Elmo Brady — The First African American PhD Chemist
    During Black History Month 2022, Dr Vera Mainz (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) celebrated St. Elmo Brady (1884 – 1966). He was the first African American to obtain a Ph.D. degree in chemistry in the United States; earning this degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1916. Brady went on to serve leadership roles at four historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs): Tuskegee, Howard University, Fisk University, and Tougaloo College, where he helped build strong undergraduate curricula and founded graduate programs in chemistry.

  • This Week in the History of Chemistry - compiled by Carmen Giunta

  • Database of Chemistry Birthdays and Anniversaries Excel spreadsheet compiled by Carmen Giunta

  • Chemical Genealogy Database at the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign by Vera V Mainz and Gregory S Girolami