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Transforming Matter

A History of Chemistry from Alchemy to the Buckyball

Trevor H. Levere

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Chemistry explores the way atoms interact, the constitution of the stars, and the human genome. Knowledge of chemistry makes it possible for us to manufacture dyes and antibiotics, metallic alloys, and other materials that contribute to the necessities and luxuries of human life. In Transforming Matter, noted historian Trevor H. Levere emphasizes that understanding the history of these developments helps us to appreciate the achievements of generations of chemists.

Levere examines the dynamic rise of chemistry from the study of alchemy in the seventeenth century to the development of organic…

Chemistry explores the way atoms interact, the constitution of the stars, and the human genome. Knowledge of chemistry makes it possible for us to manufacture dyes and antibiotics, metallic alloys, and other materials that contribute to the necessities and luxuries of human life. In Transforming Matter, noted historian Trevor H. Levere emphasizes that understanding the history of these developments helps us to appreciate the achievements of generations of chemists.

Levere examines the dynamic rise of chemistry from the study of alchemy in the seventeenth century to the development of organic and inorganic chemistry in the age of government-funded research and corporate giants. In the past two centuries, he points out, the number of known elements has quadrupled. And because of synthesis, chemistry has increasingly become a science that creates much of what it studies.

Throughout the book, Levere follows a number of recurring themes: theories about the elements, the need for classification, the status of chemical science, and the relationship between practice and theory. He illustrates these themes by concentrating on some of chemistry's most influential and innovative practitioners. Transforming Matter provides an accessible and clearly written introduction to the history of chemistry, telling the story of how the discipline has developed over the years.

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Transforming Matter

Trevor H. Levere

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Reviews

Reviews

Levere's book is commendably clear, with good explanations of numerous concepts... It is an excellent textbook for practicing chemists and chemistry students.

Excellent... In Trevor H. Levere's book Transforming Matter, this topic [when did chemistry become a science] is explained with precision and clarity, alongside other aspects of the history of chemistry... Most suitable for readers studying the history of chemistry as part of their education... [though] the general reader with more than a passing interest in the development of modern science would find much of interest.

What makes this book enjoyable is its personal tone. The reader feels as if he or she was listening to a course of lectures each of which has its own little dramaturgy and message... Transforming Matter is a book science students will enjoy. It gives a good sense of the intellectual fascination involved in man's open-ended quest for understanding the material world and its inner structures. And it may also encourage to taste some of the fascination the history of chemistry has to offer.

Levere's book is commendably up to date, and amazingly full of information... His book can be recommended for students as readable and reliable. It is expository, didactic and clear.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
232
ISBN
9780801866104
Illustration Description
13 halftones, 12 line drawings
Table of Contents

Chapter 1. First Steps: From Alchemy to Chemistry?
Chapter 2. Robert Boyle: Chemistry and Experiment
Chapter 3. A German Story: What Burns, and How
Chapter 4. An Enlightened Discipline: Chemistry as

Chapter 1. First Steps: From Alchemy to Chemistry?
Chapter 2. Robert Boyle: Chemistry and Experiment
Chapter 3. A German Story: What Burns, and How
Chapter 4. An Enlightened Discipline: Chemistry as Science and Craft
Chapter 5. Different Kinds of Air
Chapter 6. Theory and Practice: The Tools of Revolution
Chapter 7. Atoms and Elements
Chapter 8. The Rise of Organic Chemistry
Chapter 9. Atomic Weights Revisited
Chapter 10. The Birth of the Teaching-Research Laboratory
Chapter 11. Atoms in Space
Chapter 12. Physical Chemistry
Chapter 13. The Nature of the Chemical Bond
Chapter 14. Conclusion: Where Now, and Where Next? New Frontiers

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Trevor H. Levere

Trevor H. Levere is a professor in the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto. He is the editor of Annals of Science and the author of many books, including Affinity and Matter: Elements of Chemical Philosophy 1800-1865 and Chemists and Chemistry in Science and Society, 1750-1878.