From man's first exploration of natural materials and their transformations to today's materials science, chemistry has always been the central discipline that underpins both the physical and biological sciences, as well as technology.
In this Very Short Introduction, William H Brock traces the unique appeal of this fundamental science throughout history. Covering alchemy, early-modern chemistry, pneumatic chemistry and Lavoisier's re-interpretation of chemical change, the rise of organic and physical chemistry, and the transforming power of synthesis, Brock explores the extraordinary and often puzzling transformations of natural and artificial materials, as well as the men and women who experimented, speculated, and explained matter and change.
1. On the nature of stuff
2. The analysis of stuff
3. Gases and atoms
4. Types and hexagons
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William H. Brock is Emeritus Professor of History of Science at the University of Leicester. Aside from short spells of teaching in Toronto, Melbourne, and Philadelphia, Brock remained at Leicester for his teaching career, where he became Director of the Victorian Studies Centre. His publications have centred on the history of chemistry, Victorian science education, and the development of scientific periodicals, and include The Case of the Poisonous Socks (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2011).
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