Peter Ramberg 2010
The Organic Chemistry Institute of the University of Zurich is proud to offer a special short course on History of Chemistry Lecture Series . The class will be presented by Peter Ramberg.
During this series of lectures, we will look at some of the central questions that have occupied chemists since the Middle Ages. Among these questions are:
* What are the fundamental "building blocks" of nature? How can we know what they are?
* Is chemistry a practical craft, done by "sooty empiricks," or a serious theoretical and intellectual pursuit?
* Is there a distinction between the natural and artificial? What powers do we have over nature?
* What happens during a chemical transformation? What changes and what stays the same?
* Where did chemists do chemistry and how are they trained? To answer these questions, we will look at these questions for four different time periods:
1) the period of alchemy;
2) Antoine Lavoisier and the Chemical Revolution;
3) Atomism and organic chemistry in the nineteenth century, and
4) mechanistic organic chemistry and the analytical revolution in the twentieth century. Lectures will be in English, but German is welcomed.
This course will meet two days a week for two hours. Each class period will cover two topics with about a 15 minute break between them. Although I have prepared material for lectures, I welcome interruptions and discussions, in or out of class.
In-Class Essay: On October 11, I will provide a short list of questions (5-6) about the topics and issues we cover in the course (similar to the list given above), and during the last half of our final class period on October 13, I will choose three of these questions, and you will choose one of them and write an essay to show that you understand the key points involved. You may write this essay in English or German, and you may refer to a single sheet of A4 paper (front and back) with handwritten notes to keep important information. This sheet of notes will be turned in with your essay.
Analysis of a secondary source: For each topic, I will provide a short list of secondary sources (those written by historians) that provide a deeper analysis of issues covered in class. For this assignment, you need to choose one of these sources from any of these topics and provide a 2-3 page typewritten summary/analysis of its content. This is an individual assignment, so if someone has chosen one of the sources, you must choose another. On September 22, their will be a signup sheet for the list of sources. You may write this essay in English or German.
Note: For these two assignments, you must choose from two different topics. For example, if you choose to analyze a paper about the Chemical Revolution, you must write your in-class essay on another topic (i.e. twentieth century organic chemistry).
Schedule of Topics:
|Sept. 20||Introduction Alchemy, Part I|
|Sept. 23||Alchemy in the Scientific Revolution
Early Eighteenth Century Chemistry
|Sept. 27||Pneumatic Chemistry
Antoine Lavoisier and the Chemical Revolution
|Sept. 29||Electrochemistry and the Atomic view of matter
Organic Analysis and Chemical Pedagogy
|October 4||Organic Chemistry: Radicals, Types, and Atomicity
The Structural Theory of Organic Chemistry
|October 6||Stereochemistry Affinity, Bonding and the Electron|
|October 11||Mechanistic Organic Chemistry
Robert Burns Woodward and Total Synthesis
|October 13||Conclusions Final Essay (about 1 hr, 15 minutes)|
Lectures will be held from 16:00 - 18:00 in room 11- F- 06 Irchel Campus, University of Zurich
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