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Home > Catalogue > The 1702 Chair of Chemistry at Cambridge
The 1702 Chair of Chemistry at Cambridge


  • 92 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 344 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.485 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521030854)

  • There was also a Hardback of this title but it is no longer available
  • Published January 2007

Available, despatch within 3-4 weeks

US $108.00
Singapore price US $115.56 (inclusive of GST)

The University of Cambridge's 1702 chair of chemistry is the oldest continuously occupied chair of chemistry in Britain. The lives and work of the 1702 chairholders over the past three hundred years, described here, paint a vivid picture of chemistry as it slowly transformed from the handmaiden of alchemists and adjunct of medical men into a major academic discipline in its own right. The book has twelve chapters, covering all fifteen chairholders, from Giovanni Francesco Vigani, a contemporary and friend of Isaac Newton, through Smithson Tennant, discoverer of osmium and iridium, and Alexander Robertus Todd, Nobel Laureate and elucidator of the structure of key components of the double helix, to the current chairholder, master molecule maker Steven Victor Ley. Containing personal memoirs and historical essays by acknowledged experts, this book will engage all who are interested in the pivotal role chemistry has played in the making of the modern world.

• Traces the history and evolution of chemistry over the past 300 years through the lives and work of successive chairholders of the 1702 Chair of Chemistry at Cambridge • Illustrates the astonishing reach and diversity of chemistry past and present • Each chapter written by the chairholder himself or an acknowledged authority


List of contributors; Preface; Holders of the 1702 Chair of Chemistry at Cambridge; Illustration acknowledgements; 1. 'The deplorable frenzy': the slow legitimisation of chemical practice at Cambridge University Kevin Knox; 2. Vigani and after: chemical enterprise in Cambridge 1680–1780 Simon Schaffer and Larry Stewart; 3. Richard Watson: gaiters and gunpowder Colin Russell; 4. Lavoisier's chemistry comes to Cambridge Christopher Haley and Peter Wothers; 5. Smithson Tennant: the innovative and eccentric eighth professor of chemistry Melvyn Usselman; 6. Coming and going: the fitful career of James Cumming William Brock; 7. Chemistry at Cambridge under George Downing Liveing John Shorter; 8. The rise and fall of the 'Papal State' Arnold Thackray and Mary Ellen Bowden; 9. Alexander Todd: a new direction in organic chemistry James Baddiley and Daniel M. Brown; 10. Ralph Alexander Raphael: organic synthesis - elegance, efficiency and the unexpected Bill Nolan, Dudley Williams and Robert Ramage; 11. Discovering the wonders of how nature builds its molecules Alan Battersby; 12. Chemistry in a changing world: new tools for the modern molecule maker Steven Ley; Index.


'This book describes some remarkable characters. It is handsomely produced and well compiled.' Chemistry World

'The story that is presented here for the first time is authoritative, readable, and engaging. Every serious library of chemistry should possess a copy of this work, and everyone interested in the history of science will be captivated by reading it.' Angewandte Chemie International Edition

'… a welcome addition to the literature on science in Cambridge … a useful account …' Chemistry & Industry

'… being both useful and interesting within its remit, it is a welcome addition to the literature about the history of science at Cambridge.' Ambix


Kevin Knox, Simon Schaffer, Larry Stewart, Colin Russell, Christopher Haley, Peter Wothers, Melvyn Usselman, William Brock, John Shorter, Arnold Thackray, Mary Ellen Bowden, James Baddiley, Daniel M. Brown, Bill Nolan, Dudley Williams, Robert Ramage, Alan Battersby, Steven Ley

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