The History of Chemistry: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780198716488

William H. Brock
168 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
Jan 2016
Very Short Introductions


To purchase this item, please add the product to your basket and click the Shopping basket link above to view your basket and continue.

Send mail
  • Contains the most recent interpretations by historians of chemistry
  • Reveals the richness and diversity of chemistry in experimentation, theory, and analysis
  • Raises philosophical issues concerning the nature of chemical change
  • Explores the historical tension between physicists' and chemists' approaches to chemical transformation

From man's first exploration of natural materials and their transformations to today's materials science, chemistry has always been the central discipline that underpins both the physical and biological sciences, as well as technology. 

In this Very Short Introduction, William H Brock traces the unique appeal of this fundamental science throughout history. Covering alchemy, early-modern chemistry, pneumatic chemistry and Lavoisier's re-interpretation of chemical change, the rise of organic and physical chemistry, and the transforming power of synthesis, Brock explores the extraordinary and often puzzling transformations of natural and artificial materials, as well as the men and women who experimented, speculated, and explained matter and change.


1: On the nature of stuff
2: The analysis of stuff
3: Gases and atoms
4: Types and hexagons
5: Reactivity
6: Synthesis

About the author: 

William H. Brock is Emeritus Professor of History of Science at the University of Leicester. Aside from short spells of teaching in Toronto, Melbourne, and Philadelphia, Brock remained at Leicester for his teaching career, where he became Director of the Victorian Studies Centre. His publications have centred on the history of chemistry, Victorian science education, and the development of scientific periodicals, and include The Case of the Poisonous Socks (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2011).

"Writing a short book about a long history is not easy; but it would be hard to think of anybody more qualified to do it than Bill Brock." - David Knight, Annals of Science

"Writing a concise introduction to this subject which, at the same time, should be accessible to the general reader, is therefore a task which is not to be underestimated. William Brock, one of the most accomplished scholars of the subject, demonstrates with this book that he is more than capable of the task." - British Journal of the History of Science

"I can thoroughly recommend this brief tour of our all-embracing science." - Chemistry World

"Brock manages to make a very dull and dense subject both attractive and interesting - something I could never accuse my old Chemistry teacher of doing." - Stephen Craggs, Northern Echo

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.