344 pages, 30 illustrations
The reception of the periodic system of elements has received little attention. Many historians have studied Mendeleev's discovery of the periodic system, but few have analyzed how the scientific community perceived and employed it. American historian of science Stephen G. Brush concluded that the periodic law had been generally accepted in the United States and Britain and suggested the need to extend this study to other countries.
Early Responses to the Periodic System is the first collection of comparative studies on the reception, response, and appropriation of the periodic system of elements. Early Responses to the Periodic System examines the history of pedagogy and popularization in scientific communities, educational sectors, and popular culture from the 1870s to the 1920s. Fifteen historians of science explore eleven countries (and one region) central to chemical research, including Russia, Germany, the Czech lands, and Japan, one of the few nation-states outside the Western world to participate in nineteenth century scientific research.
The collection, organized by nation-state, explores how local actors regarded the new discovery as law, classification, or theoretical interpretation. The section on France discusses how a small but significant group of authors, including Adolphe Wurtz and Édouard Grimaux, introduced the periodic system as support for the atomic theory-not as the final solution to the longstanding quest for a natural classification of elements. The chapter on Germany discusses the role of Lothar Meyer, also awarded The Davy Medal for the discovery of the periodic system. Meyer's role was considered less important, and he was forgotten in his home country, Germany where educational tradition was well established, and the periodic system was not used as a novel didactic approach. In addition to discussing the appropriation of the periodic system, the collection examines metaphysical reflections of nature based on the periodic system outside of chemistry and considers how far we can push the categories of "response" and "reception."
List of Illustrations
Part I: Discovery and Early Work on the Periodic System
2. The Early Response of Mendeleev's Periodic System in Russia
Masanori Kaji, Nathan Brooks
3. The Periodic System and its Influence on Research and Education in Germany between 1870 and 1910
Part II: Early Response at the Center of Chemical Research
4. British Reception of Periodicity
5. Mendeleev's Periodic Classification and Law in French Chemistry Textbooks
Bernadette Bensaude Vincent, Antonio García Belmar
Part III: Response in the Central European Periphery
6. Nationalism and the Process of Reception of Reception and Appropriation of the Periodic System in Europe and the Czech Lands
Part IV: Response in the Northern European Periphery (Scandinavian Countries)
7. When a daring chemistry meets a boring chemistry: The Reception of Mendeleev's Periodic System in Sweden
8. Reception and Early Use of the Periodic System: The Case of Denmark
9. Ignored, Disregarded, Discarded? On the Introduction of the Periodic System in Norwegian Periodicals and Textbooks, c. 1870-1930s
Part V: Response in the Southern European Periphery
10. Chemical Classifications, Textbooks, and the Periodic System in Nineteenth-Century Spain
José Ramón Bertomeu-Sánchez, Rosa Muñoz-Bello
11. Echoes from the Reception of Periodic Classification in Portugal
12. Popular Science, Textbooks, and Scientists: The Periodic Law in Italy
Marco Ciardi, Marco Taddia
Part VI: Response Beyond Europe
13. Chemical Classification and the Response to the Periodic Law of Elements in Japan in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries
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Masanori Kaji is an Associate Professor of the History of Science at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. He wrote Mendeleev: The Discoverer of the Periodic Law of Elements (Toyo Shoten, 2007) and Mendeleev's Discovery of the Periodic Law of the Chemical Elements-The Scientific and Socieal Context of His Discovery (Hokkaido University Press, 1997).