Physical Chemistry: neither Fish nor Fowl?

Abstract
The birth of a new discipline, called 'physical chemistry', is sometimes related to the names OSTWALD, ARRHENIUS and VAN'T HOFF and dated back to the year 1887, when OSTWALD founded the Zeitschrift für physikalische Chemie.[1] But as many historians have pointed out, the phrase 'physical chemistry' was widely used before that and the topics under investigation partially go back to Robert BOYLE's attempts to connect chemistry with concepts of mechanical philosophy.[2] The idea of a sudden birth of physical chemistry in 1887 seems to be a founder myth.[3] But there is no doubt that in the late nineteenth-century there was a rapid growth of research in fields now understood as physical chemistry: chemical thermodynamics, electrochemistry, photochemistry, spectroscopy, chemical kinetics etc
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