Discrete Mathematical Chemistry: Social Aspects of its Emergence and Reception

Hyle 19 (1):19 - 33 (2013)


We first show some successes of discrete mathematical chemistry (DMC), a branch of theoretical chemistry born in the 1960s and 1970s. Then we explore the social context in which the emergence of DMC took place, initiated mainly in East European countries. The availability of knowledge, especially of mathematical knowledge, and the lack of research funds were the main conditions that helped get DMC started. We also explore the reception of DMC in the chemical and mathematical circles, being flat rejection in chemistry and slow acceptance in mathematics. Finally, we discuss some definitions of the subject and propose a new one stating that mathematical chemistry is the realization of mathematical thinking in chemistry, understood as functional thinking defined by Felix Klein in the Erlangen Program

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