Last modified May 5, 2020
Other web sites
on (mainly) the
History of Chemistry,
History of Science, and Scientific Biography
Large non-specialized databases and search tools are often useful gateways to historical material. Jump to some of the general tools I frequently use.
The sites I've assembled specifically on topics in history of chemistry, history of science, and scientific biography are organized as follows:
Biographies and Archives
Collections of Short Biographies
- Australian Academy of Science, Biographical Memoirs
- Bright Sparcs: directory of figures from Australian science, technology, and medicine
- Biographies of chemists, prepared by Peter Morris. Short sketches, many of which have previously appeared in his "confusing names" feature of the Historical Group Newsletter of the Royal Society of Chemistry
- Profiles of Great Canadian Scientists, including information about the people and their science; includes chemists
- Catalog of the Scientific Community in the 16th and 17th Centuries, compiled by the late Richard S. Westfall, Professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at Indiana University; part of the Galileo Project at Rice University.
- Chemical Achievers by Mary Ellen Bowden: most of the material is still available under historical biographies at the Science History Institute (formerly Chemical Heritage Foundation).
- 100 Distinguished European Chemists, listed and sketched by European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences (EuCheMS)) [This link contains the list of 100, but the list does not link to the corresponding articles! To find someone on the list, Google the name and site:euchems.eu -CJG]
- Gallery of Chemists' Photo-Portraits and Mini-Biographies at Michigan State University [Scroll down: there are several pages]
- Chemical Genealogy Database of about 1150 names. Vera Mainz and Gregory Girolami, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
- Histoire de la Chimie site, Biographical gallery (en Français).
- The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive: Indexes of Biographies (of mathematicians and some physical scientists)
- National Library of Medicine (US): Profiles in Science include biographies and some archival material (papers, correspondence, etc.)
- Nobelprize.org: information on the Prizes, the Laureates, Nobel, the Foundation, and a partially searchable nominations archive--from the Nobel Prize organization.
- Nobel Prize Internet Archive: information on Nobel Laureates in chemistry, physics, physiology or medicine, economics, literature, and peace
- Eminent Organic Chemists: Video reminiscences of prominent organic chemists. Produced Jeff Seeman for the ACS Division of Organic Chemistry.
- Photo Gallery of Chemists from Abegg to Zeeman. (While you're there, check out the resources for high school chemistry which is the main reason for the ChemTeam Site.)
- Radioactivity: Historical Figures: a sketch of the work of Röntgen, Becquerel, the Curies, and Rutherford at the Access Excellence Site developed at Genentech and now at the National Health Museum
- National Academy of Science (US): Biographical Memoirs
- Eric Weisstein's World of Scientific Biography contains many short biographical sketches by Eric Weisstein.
Emphasis on Underrepresented groups
- 175 Faces of Chemistry: Mostly contemporary, some historical. In seeking to promote diversity and inclusion, RSC has integrated these stories across its website, but they can still be found in one place on the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.
- The Faces of Science: African-Americans in the Sciences: (archived from Mitchell C. Brown, University of California, Irvine)
- Biographical Snapshots of Famous Women and Minority Chemists, edited by Barbara A. Burke for JCE Internet (archived at the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine).
- History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology: A Culturally Affirming View. A collection of biographical sketches of scientists (originally at San Jose State University, now at Michigan State University).
- The ScienceMakers: NSF-funded section of The HistoryMakers, the Nation's African American video oral history collection
- Well-known Women Engineers and Scientists from around the world (Monique Frize, Carleton University); alphabetical list through K at present
- Women in Chemistry: Her Lab in Your Life: developed by the Chemical Heritage Foundation. The site is no longer maintained: this link is via the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.
- The Women in Chemistry Oral History Project: part of the Archives of Women in Science and Engineering, Iowa State University Library.
- Contributions of 20th Century Women to Physics: from the Committee on the Status of Women in Physics and the Forum on the History of Physics of the American Physical Society.
- Distinguished Women of Past and Present (archived): includes biographical information on women in chemistry, astronomy, biology, engineering, physics, and many other fields outside the natural sciences and technology.
- Women Untold: Video on three pioneer women of color in STEM written, directed, and produced by students at Lawrence Technological University. Featured scientists are Jewel Plummer Cobb (cancer researcher and university president), Alice Augusta Ball (treatment for leprosy), and Evelyn Boyd Granville (NASA Mathematician).
- 4000 years of women in science: Photographs, Biographies, and References
Individual biographies and archives
- Amedeo Avogadro Digital Library of published works and manuscripts at Museo Galileo (in italiano)
- Robert Boyle Project at Birkbeck, University of London
- work diaries of Robert Boyle at project CELL (Centre for Editing Lives and Letters)
- Stanislao Cannizzaro Archive at the Italian National Academy of Science (in Italiano): contains documents, letters, and biographical material.
- Marie Curie and the Science of Radioactivity by the American Institute of Physics
- Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online (not chemistry, of course, but of broad interest)
- Collected Papers of Albert Einstein: transcribed and (where necessary) translated into English at Princeton University Press
- Einstein Archives Online: papers, essays, and letters from the Einstein Papers Project (CalTech & Hebrew University, Jerusalem)
- Albert Einstein: Image and Impact, American Institute of Physics
- Albert Einstein Online maintained by S. Morgan Friedman.
- Benjamin Franklin resources at the Franklin Institute
- Association des Amis de Louis-Joseph Gay-Lussac (en Français) at la Bibliothéque de l'Ecole polytechnique.
- Musée Gay-Lussac at Ville de Saint Léonard de Noblat (en Français).
- Werner Heisenberg and the Uncertainty Principle, David C. Cassidy (Hofstra University) and American Institute of Physics Center for History of Physics
- Robert Hooke: roberthooke.org.uk
- Les Amis de Lavoisier (en Français or English) written by Jean Pierre Poirier.
- Panopticon Lavoisier: a project undertaken by several museums in France and Italy to digitize, integrate, and post the papers (those previously published as well as those never before published) of Lavoisier. Includes page images of Lavoisier's Oeuvres. A searchable electronic edition from this project is at CNRS (French national center for scientific research).
- Lawrence and the Cyclotron, on E. O. Lawrence, American Institute of Physics
- Johann Josef Loschmidt: biography, photos, diaries, etc.
- Profiles in Science at the US National Library of Medicine: archival materials on 20th-century biomedical scientists. For example, Rosalind Franklin's notebook on possible DNA structures or Charles Drew's typescript report on "The Negro Physician in the Present [WWII] War Effort".
- Dmitriy Mendeleev Online maintained by Eugene V. Babaev at Moscow State University
- Walther Nernst memorial website
- The Chymistry of Isaac Newton, at Indiana University's Digital Library.
- The Newton Project manuscripts and archives including alchemical and theological writings (at Sussex University).
- Joseph-Nicéphore Niépce and photography
- Pasteur Brewing: articles by Pasteur, images, biographical sketches of contemporaries, and more
- Wolfgang Pauli and modern physics: virtual exhibition at ETH library.
- Linus Pauling: Oregon State University Library celebrated the Pauling centenary in 2001, including an exhibit of materials from archives and special collections and digitized images of laboratory notebooks. More recently, the library's special collections have mounted digital archives and exhibits on both Paulings' role in the international peace movement as well as Linus's war work, The Race for DNA, the structure of proteins, the Nature of the Chemical Bond and Sickle Cell Anemia
- Joseph Priestley Online: collection of Priestley resources and bibliography compiled by Andrew Harris
- Ernest Rutherford, Scientist Supreme: biographical information and more by John Campbell
- Glenn Seaborg: His Life and Contributions, at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory
- Alessandro Volta: exhibit on his life and work as part of Pavia Project Physics, University of Pavia
- Tempio Voltiano: turn of the 19th-century electrical apparatus on the shore of Lake Como
- James Watt: a biography by Andrew Carnegie, E-text from University of Rochester Steam Engine Library; audiobook at Librivox
Developments in Chemistry
- Before there was chemistry, there was Alchemy (at levity.com).
- From Alchemy to Chemistry: Five Hundred Years of Rare and Interesting Books: from an exhibit held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, co-curated by Tina Chrzastowski, Vera Mainz, and Gregory Girolami.
- American Chemical Society National Historic Chemical Landmarks
- A Select Bibliography of Chemistry by Henry Carrington Bolton, including the original publication and supplements, at Hathi Trust Digital Library
- Bulletin for the History of Chemistry
- Chemistry: A Historical Perspective. This set of essays, organized thematically, describes many important developments in chemistry from alchemy to modern nuclear transmutation. Part of Chemistry Online, by James Fromm.
- Brief Chronology of Chemistry from the Ancients to the Nuclear Atom. This set of essays focuses on physical aspects of chemistry and includes many biographical sketches. (Paul Charlesworth, Michigan Tech)
- DNA structure: "Linus Pauling and the Race for DNA" at Oregon State University Library.
- Colorants Industry History: maintained by Robert (Bob) Baptista, a former chemist at Bayer (US); it deals with 20th-century US dye industry. Includes a reprint of 1992 article by Peter Morris and Anthony Travis, "A History of the International Dyestuff Industry."
- History of Chemistry Course Syllabi (Peter Ramberg, Truman State University)
- A Dictionary of Obsolete Chemical Terms by Jon Eklund, transcribed by John Park and posted at the ChemTeam site.
- Bibliographie der Dissertationen amerikanischer und britischer Chemiker an deutschen Universitäten, 1840-1914 (auf Deutsch) by Paul Jones: searchable list of dissertation titles, authors, and mentors
- Ancient Dyes, Natural and Synthetic by Chris Cooksey
- Exhibit on the "Discovery of the Electron," American Institute of Physics.
- "Elemental and Molecular Heritage: An Internet-based Display," by Henry S. Rzepa: a description of the display and the display itself
- Chemical Elements: Their Discovery and the Origins of their Names: by Dave Trapp, Sequim (Washington) High School
- Elementymology & Elements Multidict by Peter van der Krogt: names of the elements in many languages and etymologies of those names
- Images from the Edgar Fahs Smith Collection from the University of Pennsylvania Libraries at Artstor. (Click Search within Results.) Portraits of important chemists and diagrams of historical chemical apparatus.
- History of Green Chemistry at ThomasNet.com
- Chronology of Chemical Information Science Compiled by Robert V. Williams and Mary Ellen Bowden.
- Foundations of Chemistry: a journal for "philosophical, historical, educational and interdisciplinary studies of chemistry."
- Histoire de la Chimie: chronology of many important developments in chemistry from antiquity to the early 20th century; includes a Biographical gallery (en Français).
- History of Chemical Engineering & Chemical Technology by Wayne Pafko
- Hyle: an international journal for the philosophy of chemistry. Site includes a bibliography and other links for philosophy of chemistry.
- A History of Mass Spectrometry (Gary Siuzdak, Scripps Center for Mass Spectrometry): chronologies, biographies, and other historical essays
- Name Reactions at Organic Chemistry Portal, an extensive site that contains much information on contemporary organic chemistry as well.
- Name Reactions in Organic Chemistry (at Institute of Chemistry, Skopje, Macedonia): many names, but fairly few reactions yet posted. Those that are posted are well done, however.
- Named Reactions by Marcus Brackeen (MonomerChem Inc.)
- Named Things in Chemistry and Physics: John Andraos, York University, Toronto
- NMR and MRI: a collection of references and web links collected by edited by Stanislav Sýkora, including references to pre-1955 history.
- Mallinckrodt Outline of the History of Chemistry originally compiled by Norris K. Rakestraw (1927), revised by Herbert S. Klickstein (1957, 1961), and adapted for the web by Robert B. Gayhart at Bradley University.
- Painting: pigments and oils. This historical tutorial on oil painting from Sanders Studios Fine Arts & Portraits concentrates on art, but does not neglect materials. It includes descriptions and definitions of many pigments past and present.
- Development of the Periodic Table (Western Oregon University).
- 2019 was the International Year of the Periodic Table
- INTERNET Database of Periodic Tables at Mark Leach's Chemogenesis web book. Includes alternative layouts and non-chemical periodic tables
- History of photochemistry: some primary texts (PDF) and biographical information on 20th-century photochemists (Nicholas J. Turro (d. 2012) & group, Columbia)
- A History of Photography from its beginnings till the 1920s by Dr. Robert Leggat: extensive and well-organized site on an area full of applied chemistry. Dr. Leggat passed away in 2011, but his site is now hosted by Michael Pritchard.
- A History of Pharmacy in Pictures at Washington State University College of Pharmacy
- Plastics Collection at Syracuse University Libraries
- Plastics Historical Society, London: includes a section on people and polymers.
- Early Ideas in the History of Quantum Chemistry, by Udo Anders. Much biographical material, with an emphasis on semiempirical methods.
- Sources for History of Quantum Physics, by Thomas Kuhn, John Heilbron, Paul Forman, and Lini Allen. Bibliographical material.
- Rediscovery of the Elements by James L. and Virginia R. Marshall: lots of photos and information about the places associated with discoveries and discoverers of elements as well as some articles originally published in the Alpha Chi Sigma Hexagon
- Rubber: history, biographies, chemistry, and conservation at Bouncing Balls (maintained by John Loadman).
- Science History Institute (formerly Chemical Heritage Foundation): including Digital Collections, its center for oral history, multimedia outreach (magazine, podcast, video, and blog) called Distillations, as well as a physical museum and library.
- Xenobiotic metabolism: a series of historical vignettes on the metabolism of foreign compounds by biological systems, from the International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics.
- Fifty Years of X-Ray Diffraction, edited by P. P. Ewald: Chapters on the electron-diffraction and crystallography and related topics, including discovery of X-rays, X-ray spectroscopy, biographies, and reminiscences.
- Online exhibit for the hundredth anniversary of X-ray diffraction assembled by Greg Girolami and Vera Mainz, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Developments in science more generally
Several large digital library projects have significant holdings in older chemistry books. Search for chemistry in Google books or Internet Archive.
- Athena Science: Science texts online at the University of Geneva
- Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften digital library: page images of Berlin academy proceedings (l'Académie Royale des Sciences et des Belles-Lettres de Berlin [in French] and Königlichen Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin [in German])
- Comptes rendus at the Bibliothèque nationale de France (en français, of course).
- ECHO (European Cultural Heritage Online) Collection of Source Texts on the History of Chemistry.