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Working Party on History of Chemistry


The 11th International Conference on the History of Chemistry was held in Trondheim, Norway during 29 August – 2 September, 2017. Conference website: http://www.ntnu.edu/11ichc

For book of abstract and report from the conference, see the table of past conferences below.

The 12th International Conference on History of Chemistry will take place in Maastricht, the Netherlands, during 6-9 August, 2019.

John Dalton 250th Anniversary Symposium: Chemistry meets History

organized by Mats Tilset, Sylviane Sabo-Etienne and Brigitte Van Tiggelen

During the 6th EuCheMS congress in Sevilla, Spain, in September 2016 a one-day symposium in honor of the 250th anniversary of John Dalton’s birth was held. The morning session was convened by Professor Mats Tilset, University of Oslo, Norway. The symposium began appropriately with a 45-minute lecture by science historian Rachel Dunn, Durham University, UK, on the life and scientific career of John Dalton. She packed much information and anecdotes into her presentation to give a lively impression of a most remarkable man. As a Quaker, who remained committed to his religion all his life, Dalton was soberly dressed in dark colors. Once the rule was broken in public, when he was awarded an honorary degree from Oxford University in 1832, for which he was given a red robe to wear. When asked afterward how he could reconcile the vibrant color with his faith, his response was that though others may call it scarlet, he saw it as brown-green, the color of nature. He was color-blind!

Dalton’s wide scientific studies stretched from physics and chemistry through colour-blindness to meteorology. He was also committed to the communication of science in an efficient way, with succinct language and visualization, for example, of the elements and their combination in chemistry.

This lecture set the tone for the chemistry slam session in which eleven candidates were selected from the Dalton Symposium poster session. The participants had four minutes each to present the link between Dalton and their chemistry. The winner was Karolin Materne, who showed parallels between her incipient career in science and the character and early career of Dalton.

The afternoon session was organized by Professor Sylviane Sabo-Etienne, Toulouse, France. Two additional historical lectures gave the background and the reason for the initially slow reception of Mendeleev’s periodic table (given by Dr. Brigitte van Tiggelen, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia, USA) and the innovation of Berthollet’s chemical affinities at the turn of the 19th century (presented by Professor Pere Grapí, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain). The symposium was rounded off with four oral presentations of 15 minutes each by young chemists.

WP chair Brigitte Van Tiggelen during the Dalton Symposium in 2016


Past conferences:

ICHC Dates Venue Title
11ICHC 29 Aug-2 Sept 2017 Trondheim, Norway 11th International Conference on History of Chemistry

(11ICHC report)

6th EuCheMS congress
 11–15 Sept 2016  Sevilla, Spain  John Dalton 250th Anniversary: Chemistry meets History
10ICHC 9–12 Sept 2015 Aveiro, Portugal Chemical Biography in the 21st Century

(10ICHC report)

9ICHC 21–24 Aug 2013 Uppsala, Sweden Chemistry in Material Culture
8ICHC 14–16 Sept 2011 Rostock, Germany Pathways of knowledge
7ICHC 2–5 Aug 2009 Sopron, Hungary Consumers and Experts: The Uses of Chemistry (and Alchemy)
6ICHC 28 Aug–1 Sept 2007 Leuven, Belgium Neighbours and Territories – The Evolving Identity of Chemistry


Other 31 Aug–3 Sept 2006 Gödöllö, Hungary History of the Food Chain
1st EuCheMS Congress 27–31 Aug 2006 Budapest, Hungary Chemistry – Past, Present and Future
5ICHC 6–10 Sept 2005 Lisbon-Estoril, Portugal Chemistry, Technology and Society
4ICHC 3–7 Sept 2003 Budapest, Hungary Communication in Chemistry in Europe, across Borders and across Generations
3ICHC 2–4 July 1999 Budapest, Hungary 3rd International Conference on the History of Chemistry and Chemical Industry
Other 1997 Liège, Belgium History of Science Congress
2ICHC 15–19 Aug 1995 Eger, Hungary 2nd International Conference on the History of Chemistry and Chemical Industry
1ICHC 12–17 Aug 1991 Veszprém, Hungary Mineral Contor International Conference on the History of Chemistry and Chemical Industry