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The Public Image of Chemistry

Eds. Joachim Schummer, Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent & Brigitte Van Tiggelen
World Scientific Publishing, Singapore et al.,
Publication date: October 2007
384 + vi pp., ISBN: 981-277-584-9
US$58 / £31

 Table of Contents (pdf)
 Introduction (pdf)
 Abstracts (pdf)
 About the Contributors (pdf)
 Web page of the publisher

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Popular associations with chemistry range from poisons, hazards, chemical warfare and environmental pollution to alchemical pseudoscience, sorcery and mad scientists, which gravely affect the public image of science in general. While chemists have merely complained about their public image, social and cultural studies of science have largely avoided anything related to chemistry.

This book provides, for the first time, an in-depth understanding of the cultural and historical contexts in which the public image of chemistry has emerged. It argues that this image has been shaped through recurring and unlucky interactions between chemists in popularizing their discipline and nonchemists in expressing their expectations and fears of science. Written by leading scholars from the humanities, social sciences and chemistry in North America, Europe and Australia, this volume explores a blind spot in the science–society relationship and calls for a constructive dialog between scientists and their public.

Book Reviews

  • Canadian Chemical News / L’Actualité Chimique Canadienne (Chemical Institute of Canada), Vol. 60, No. 4, April 2008, p. 14, by Anne Campbell.
  • Química e Industria (Asociación Nacional de Químicas de España), No. 576, April/May 2008, p. 53.
  • Chemical & Engineering News (American Chemical Society), Vo. 86, No. 22, 2 June 2008, p. 50-51, by Martha L. Casey.
  • Chemistry World (Royal Society of Chemistry), Vol. 5, No. 8, August 2008, by Paul Board.

Last update: 11/10/2008