By Fred Aftalion
Goals to supply a world point of view on chemistry, integrating the tale of chemical technological know-how with that of the chemical undefined, and emphasizing very important advancements of the 20 th century.
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Additional resources for A history of the international chemical industry
Du Pont de Nemours. 156 27. Eugène Houdry. 158 28. Catalytic cracking unit, Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, 1938. 159 29. ICI polyethylene pilot plant units, Wallerscot, Cheshire, 1937 273 30. Rhône-Poulenc synthetics plant, Saint-Fons. -DCNB. 284 31. Total Chimie complex, Gonfreville near Le Havre. Courtesy Total Chimie. 295 32. Tavaux factory. Courtesy Solvay. 298 Page xv Foreword The Chemical Sciences in Society: what may one expect in a series with such a title? The question is legitimate. The answer is important.
Also worthy of note is the way in which science and technology are increasingly to be understood as political. Science today is an arena in which actors compete for scarce resourcesof prestige, of intellectual turf, of government support, of student interest, of corporate involvement, and of public acclaim. The chemical sciences offer a particularly rich area of study when Page xvi seen in this waythanks to their long history, their ubiquity, their commercial significance, and their involvement with government and medicine (no monarch could ignore someone able to transmute base metals into gold, or to offer the elixir of lifeeither in the Renaissance or in the National Institutes of Health).
Furthermore, the materials being treated were often radically transformed by the alchemists' operations. The use of fire usually was sufficient to destroy all organic substances. The result was that alchemy was largely a form of inorganic or mineral chemistry, using the ''dry" processes of calcination (heating) and melting. D. certain adepts knew how to distill rose petals to produce essence of roses, and to prepare alcohol concentrates called aqua vitae. The spread of knowledge of distillation in medieval Europe may be traced through the appearance of ordinances against drunkenness.