The Public Image of Chemistry

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Popular associations with chemistry range from poisons, hazards, chemical warfare and environmental pollution to alchemical pseudoscience, sorcery and mad scientists, which gravely affect the public image of science in general. While chemists have merely complained about their public image, social and cultural studies of science have largely avoided anything related to chemistry.

This book provides, for the first time, an in-depth understanding of the cultural and historical contexts in which the public image of chemistry has emerged. It argues that this image has been shaped through recurring and unlucky interactions between chemists in popularizing their discipline and nonchemists in expressing their expectations and fears of science. Written by leading scholars from the humanities, social sciences and chemistry in North America, Europe and Australia, this volume explores a blind spot in the science-society relationship and calls for a constructive dialog between scientists and their public.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789812775849
  • Publisher: World Scientific Publishing Company, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/28/2008
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 6.62 (w) x 9.07 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction   Joachim Schummer   Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent   Brigitte Van Tiggelen     1
Popular Images in Fiction and Movies
The Alchemist in Fiction: The Master Narrative   Roslynn Haynes     7
Historical Roots of the 'Mad Scientist': Chemists in Nineteenth-century Literature   Joachim Schummer     37
Chemists and their Craft in Fiction Film   Peter Weingart     81
Chemistry and Power in Recent American Fiction   Philip Ball     97
Self-Images in Chemistry Popularizations
Popularizing Chemistry: Hands-on and Hands-off   David Knight     123
Liebig or How to Popularize Chemistry   Marika Blondel-Megrelis     137
From Chemistry for the People to the Wonders of Technology: The Popularization of Chemistry in the Netherlands during the Nineteenth Century   Ernst Homburg     151
Abraham Cressy Morrison in the Agora: Bringing Chemistry to the Public   Andrew Ede     187
The Visual Image of Chemistry: Perspectives from the History of Art and Science   Joachim Schummer   Tami I. Spector     213
Mediated Images
Taking Science to the Marketplace: Examples of Science Service's Presentation of Chemistry during the 1930s   Marcel C. LaFollette     259
The Image of Chemistry Presentedby the Science Museum, London in the Twentieth Century: An International Perspective   Peter J. T. Morris     297
On the Self-Image of Chemists, 1950-2000   Pierre Laszlo     329
Biographical Notes on the Contributors     369
Acknowledgments     373
Index of Names     375
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