Luckly, I studied science history in a course called The Physical Universe with the best, Aaron J. Ihde (1909-2000) I was also a graduate teaching assistant for him until I started working in the Physical Chemistry Department as a research assistant. Here's part of his bio:
Ihde's interest in the history of science was further recognized in 1947 when he was invited to teach the first science course, "The Physical Universe," a two-year sequence of general studies of an interdisciplinary nature. Ihde's course, which drew material from chemistry, physics, and astronomy, sought to show the nature of science and the growth of scientific ideas through the historic debates associated with planetary systems, atomic and molecular theory, and cosmic concepts. He continued to teach the course until his retirement in 1980; more than 7,000 students took this course under his leadership. By 1949, Ihde had placed the history of science at the center of the new Integrated Liberal Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin
hde's research and publications transformed the field of the history of chemistry. The intellectual
fruits of six decades at Wisconsin as a student, as a faculty member, and as professor
emeritus occupy seven bound volumes in the stacks of the Memorial Library and consist of 342
items including a posthumous paper published in the Bulletin of the History of Chemistry. He
made the University of Wisconsin the premier center for the study of the history of chemistry especially after he was joined on the faculty by his first Ph.D. student Robert Siegfried. Over the
years, Aaron supervised 21 Ph.D.s in history of science, as well as a number of masters' students and post-doctoral fellows.
Monona Rossol, M.S., M.F.A., Industrial Hygienist
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From: DAVID <dakatz45**At_Symbol_Here**MSN.COM>
To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Sent: Thu, Aug 13, 2015 11:02 am
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Teaching Chemistry with a Historical Perspective
I was fortunate to have a great History and Philosophy of Science Course as an undergraduate in the 1960's. That course was taught by a young teacher who was enthusiastic about the subject and focused on development of ideas with a historical perspective, and some original readings, without resorting to a list of names and dates. Unfortunately, such courses and instructors were not valued by the college and that course (and the instructor) did not last and was later dropped from the science major curriculum.
I have always taught with a historical perspective and have given a number of papers on using history in teaching dating back to 1975. I believe that it is important to understand how our modern concepts and theories developed. Readings in the history of chemistry must, in my opinion, go beyond sources that discuss and compare these ideas and to reading some of the original papers by major scientists along with an understanding of the social and political climates of their times. You may recall the excellent books and TV series
The Ascent of Man by Jacob Bronowski, and
Connections by James Burke. As I'm not aware of any compilation of the environmental and safety aspects of much of the historical work, it is up to the instructor to add that perspective.
David A. Katz
Chemist, Educator, Expert Demonstrator, Science Communicator, and Consultant
Programs and workshops for teachers, schools, museums, and the public
133 N. Desert Stream Dr. * Tucson, AZ 85745-2277 * USA
voice/fax: (520) 624-2207 * email:
Visit my web site:
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, August 13, 2015 4:46 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Teaching Chemistry with a Historical Perspective
Given the level of interest shown by the list in the cultural aspects of chemistry in the fictional universes, I thought I would point out to the list that there is an article in today's Journal of Chemical Education on "How Did We Get Here? Teaching Chemistry with a Historical Perspective" which has a helpful list of historical chemistry literature resources. There doesn't appear to be much on environmental or safety aspects of this history included in these resources, but this might be helpful in developing such materials.
Also, someone pointed out to me last week's C&EN article on the PBS Docudrama "The Mystery of Matter," which tells the tales of seven chemists with dramatic reenactments
I saw previews of the Marie Curie episode a few years ago and there are a lot of opportunities to discuss the connection between the demonstrated lab practices and the health impacts on her and her co-workers of the chemistry she conducted.
Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
Chemical Hygiene Officer
Keene State College
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