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Commission on the History of Modern Chemistry, International Union of History and Philosophy of Science – Division of History of Science and Technology was the webpage of the Commission on the History of Modern Chemistry (CHMC), remaining current until July 2017.  At the International Congress in Rio de Janeiro in July 2017, a change in the name of the commission was approved.  The former CHMC is now the Commission on the History of Chemistry and Molecular Sciences (CHCMS).  Due to term limits and retirements, there were several changes in the Executive Council.  The current president of CHCMS, replacing Jeffrey Johnson, is Brigitte Van Tiggelen, director of European operations of the Science History Institute, Philadelphia, and chair of the Working Party for the History of Chemistry of the European Chemical Society (EuChemS).  A new and updated website is currently in preparation; when ready, it will be accessible under the domain name, and links to the old website will be forwarded to the new website.

CHMC is a Commission of the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science / Division of History of Science and Technology (IUHPS/DHST). The aim is to focus interest on, and to create a framework for, research on the history of modern chemistry with particular emphasis on twentieth-century chemistry in its relationship to the biomedical sciences, physics, instrumentation, and technology.

Manfred Eigen, Göttingen (Chemistry Nobel Laureate of 1967), and Roald Hoffmann, Ithaca (Chemistry Nobel Laureate of 1981), support the aims of CHMC as Honorary Patrons.

CHMC organizes scientific symposia at the International Congresses of the History of Science and, if possible, in the years in between these congresses.

  • CHMC establishes efficient means of communication for historians of chemistry from all over the world through the electronic news bulletin and mailing list CHEM-HIST.
  • CHMC maintains contacts with other scholarly associations and societies devoted to the history of chemistry or to the history of science and technology. It co-operates with other DHS Commissions and Scientific Sections.
  • CHMC collects data for a World Directory of historians of chemistry.
  • CHMC seeks to encourage other initiatives in the historiography of modern chemistry.

According to IUHPS/DHST statutes, Historical Commissions are international associations financially dependent upon DHST. They report annually to the Secretary General and submit reports on their activities to each General Assembly.

CHMC has no formal membership. Everybody with a scholarly or professional interest in the history of chemistry who communicates and co-operates with the Commission will be considered a member. Business is run by an Executive Council [for members, see the column to the left] approved by IUHPS/DHST Council. Meetings and Conferences are prepared by their respective Program Committees.

Forthcoming Meetings

CHMC is organizing a half-day symposium for the 25th International Congress of History of Science and Technology (ICHST), to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 23 to 29 July 2017, with the general theme “Science, Technology and Medicine between the Global and the Local.”  Our symposium, organized by Jeffrey Johnson and Brigitte Van Tiggelen, is entitled, “Re-centering modern chemistry since the 1960s,” and is intended to follow up on the Tokyo workshop of March 2015, on the “Transformation of Chemistry from the 1920s to the 1960s” (see the list of past CHMC conferences in the center column of this website).  For general information on the Congress see their website.  More details on the CHMC symposium will be posted when available. There will also be an important business meeting of CHMC at the Rio Congress; items on the agenda include the selection of a new president to replace Jeffrey Johnson, who must retire after serving two 4-year terms, and discussion of a proposal (currently being drafted) to expand the responsibilities of CHMC by including modern biosciences and biotechnology.  A detailed agenda will be posted when available.

CHMC will also plan sessions for the 11th International Conference on History of Chemistry in Trondheim, Norway, from 29 August to 2 September 2017, and the Annual Meeting of the Society for History of Technology in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 26-29 October 2017.

The following meetings and conferences have been organized:

  • After Ypres: The Integration of Science into War, Part I: Chemistry and Chemists through War; Part II: Reactions to the Integration of Science into War” (double session co-sponsored by CHMC and FoHCS [HSS Forum for the History of the Chemical Sciences], organized by Yoshiyuki Kikuchi, chaired by Brigitte Van Tiggelen), History of Science Society Annual Meeting, San Francisco, November 19-22, 2015 (on 11/21 and 11/22) (program may be downloaded here; papers are listed on pp. 56-57 and 60-61).



CHMC Executive Council

CHMC mourns the death on July 18, 2016, of Prof. Masanori Kaji (Member of the Executive Council)
Tokyo Institute of Technology
Graduate School of Decision Science and Technology
Group of History of Science and Technology, W9-79
2-12-1 Ookayama Meguro-ku Tokyo 152-8552, Japan

Please see the following for a collection of tributes to Professor Kaji by his many friends and colleagues in the history of chemistry around the world:

Current members:

Prof. Jeffrey A. Johnson (President, effective from 2011)
Department of History
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085, USA
phone:. +1-610-519-7404
fax: +1-610-519-4450

Prof. Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent (Vice President for professional and disciplinary history)

Université de Paris X - Nanterre
Département de Philosophie
200, av. de la République
F-92001 Nanterre Cedex, France
phone: +33-1-4097 7353/4712
fax: +33-1-4732 3183

Dr. Peter J. T. Morris ((Vice President for history of instrumentation, laboratories, and industrial relations)
Retired Principal Curator at the Science Museum
Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 2DD, England, United Kingdom

Dr. Brigitte Van Tiggelen (Vice President for symposium and congress planning)

Chair, Working Party for the History of Chemistry, European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences (EuCheMS)
Université catholique de Louvain and Memosciences, Belgium
Institutional address:  Mémosciences
Voie du Vieux Quartier 18
1348 Louvain-la-neuve

Dr. Danielle M. E. Fauque (Vice President for documentation, museums, and archival relations)
Chair, Club d’histoire de la chimie (CHC), thematic group of the Société chimique de France (SCF)
Member of the French National Committee of History and Philosophy of science (CNFHPS)
chercheur associé GHDSO. bât. 407
Université Paris-Sud 11
91405 Orsay cedex, France
phone: +33 1 40 44 40 16
fax:  +33 1 69 15 43 98

Prof. Ernst Homburg (Treasurer)
Professor of History of Science and Technology
History, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Universiteit Maastricht, PO Box 616
6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
Phone: +31-(0)43-388 3314
Fax: +31-(0)43-388 4917

Former officers of CHF, now serving as members of the Advisory Board:

Professor emeritus Christoph Meinel (past President, 1997-2010; Honorary Chair of the Advisory Board)
Universität Regensburg
Lehrstuhl für Wissenschaftsgeschichte
D-93040 Regensburg, Germany
phone: +49-941-943 3659/61
fax: +49-941-943 1985/4992

Prof. Carsten Reinhardt (former Treasurer and Vice President to July 2013)

Former President, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia, PA (2013-2016)
Fakultät für Geschichtswissenschaft, Philosophie und Theologie
Universität Bielefeld
D- 33615 Bielefeld, Germany

Prof. Yasu Furukawa (former Vice President for development and outreach to July 2013)

President, Japanese Society for History of Chemistry
Nihon University, College of Bioresource Sciences
1866 Kameino, Fujisawa 252-0880, Japan
phone & fax: +81-466-84-3717

Enquiries should be sent to Prof. Jeffrey Johnson, , Dept. of History, Villanova University, Villanova, PA 19085, USA.