|About the Book|
In the eighteenth century, chemistry was transformed from an art to a public science.Chemical affinity played an important role in this process as a metaphor, a theory domain, and asubject of investigation. Goethes Elective Affinities, which wasMoreIn the eighteenth century, chemistry was transformed from an art to a public science.Chemical affinity played an important role in this process as a metaphor, a theory domain, and asubject of investigation. Goethes Elective Affinities, which was based on the current understandingof chemical affinities, attests to chemistrys presence in the public imagination. In Affinity, ThatElusive Dream, Mi Gyung Kim restores chemical affinity to its proper place in historiography and inEnlightenment public culture.The Chemical Revolution is usually associated with Antoine-LaurentLavoisier, who introduced a modern nomenclature and a definitive text. Kim argues that chemicalaffinity was erased from historical memory by Lavoisiers omission of it from his textbook. Sheexamines the work of many less famous French chemists (including physicians, apothecaries,metallurgists, philosophical chemists, and industrial chemists) to explore the institutional contextof chemical instruction and research, the social stratification that shaped theoretical discourse,and the crucial shifts in analytic methods. Apothecaries and metallurgists, she shows, shaped themain theory domains through their innovative approach to analysis. Academicians and philosophicalchemists brought about two transformative theoretical moments through their efforts to create arational discourse of chemistry in tune with the reigning natural philosophy.The topics discussedinclude the corpuscular (Cartesian) model in French chemistry in the early 1700s, the stabilizationof the theory domains of composition and affinity, the reconstruction of French theoreticaldiscourse in the middle of the eighteenth century, the Newtonian languages that plagued the domainof affinity just before the Chemical Revolution, Guyton de Morveaus program of affinity chemistry,Lavoisiers reconstruction of the theory domains of chemistry, and Berthollets path as an affinitychemist.