David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (1):1-33 (2002)
The paper illustrates how organic chemists dramatically altered their practices in the middle part of the twentieth century through the adoption of analytical instrumentation — such as ultraviolet and infrared absorption spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy — through which the difficult process of structure determination for small molecules became routine. Changes in practice were manifested in two ways: in the use of these instruments in the development of ‘rule-based’ theories; and in an increased focus on synthesis, at the expense of chemical analysis. These rule-based theories took the form of generalizations relating structure to chemical and physical properties, as measured by instrumentation. This ‘Instrumental Revolution’ in organic chemistry was two-fold: encompassing an embrace of new tools that provided unprecedented access to structures, and a new way of thinking about molecules and their reactivity in terms of shape and structure. These practices suggest the possibility of a change in the ontological status of chemical structures, brought about by the regular use of instruments. The career of Robert Burns Woodward provides the central historical examples for the paper. Woodward was an organic chemist at Harvard from 1937 until the time of his death. In 1965, he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Davis Baird (1993). Analytical Chemistry and the 'Big' Scientific Instrumentation Revolution. Annals of Science 50 (3):267-290.
Stephen G. Brush (1999). Dynamics of Theory Change in Chemistry: Part 2. Benzene and Molecular Orbitals, 1945–1980. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 30 (2):263-302.
Angela N. H. Creager (1996). Wendell Stanley's Dream of a Free-Standing Biochemistry Department at the University of California, Berkeley. Journal of the History of Biology 29 (3):331 - 360.
Lily E. Kay (1988). Laboratory Technology and Biological Knowledge: The Tiselius Electrophoresis Apparatus, 1930-1945. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 10 (1):51 - 72.
Mi Gyung Kim (1990). The Layers of Chemical Language, II: Stabilizing Atoms and Molecules in the Practice of Organic Chemistry. History of Science 30 (90):397-437.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
B. L. (2002). Instruments and Rules: R. B. Woodward and the Tools of Twentieth-Century Organic Chemistry. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (1):1-32.
Ursula Klein (2001). Berzelian Formulas as Paper Tools in Early Nineteenth-Century Chemistry. Foundations of Chemistry 3 (1):7-32.
U. Klein (2001). Paper Tools in Experimental Cultures. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 32 (2):265-302.
William Goodwin (2009). Scientific Understanding and Synthetic Design. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (2):271-301.
William Mark Goodwin (2009). Scientific Understanding and Synthetic Design. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (2):271-301.
Grant Fisher (2006). The Autonomy of Models and Explanation: Anomalous Molecular Rearrangements in Early Twentieth-Century Physical Organic Chemistry. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (4):562-584.
Ursula Klein (2005). Technoscience. Perspectives on Science 13 (2).
William Goodwin (2007). Scientific Understanding After the Ingold Revolution in Organic Chemistry. Philosophy of Science 74 (3):386-408.
W. M. Goodwin (2008). Structural Formulas and Explanation in Organic Chemistry. Foundations of Chemistry 10 (2):117-127.
William Goodwin (2008). Implementation and Innovation in Total Synthesis. Foundations of Chemistry 10 (3):177-186.
William Goodwin (2012). Sustaining a Controversy: The Non-Classical Ion Debate. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (4):axs025.
Alan Rocke (2013). What Did “Theory” Mean to Nineteenth-Century Chemists? Foundations of Chemistry 15 (2):145-156.
George B. Kauffman (2012). István Hargittai: Judging Edward Teller: A Closer Look at One of the Most Influential Scientists of the Twentieth Century. [REVIEW] Foundations of Chemistry 14 (1):99-101.
Joan Steigerwald (2002). Instruments of Judgment: Inscribing Organic Processes in Late Eighteenth-Century Germany. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 33 (1):79-131.
Added to index2010-09-14
Total downloads5 ( #338,493 of 1,699,425 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #362,609 of 1,699,425 )
How can I increase my downloads?