Royal Society of Chemistry


Web pages prepared by Dr G P Moss, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, England. E-mail:

Chairman: Dr J A Hudson, Graythwaite, Loweswater, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0SU, England. E-mail:

Secretary: Dr J Nicholson, School of Sport, Health and Applied Science, St Mary's University College, Waldegrave Road, Twickenham, Middlesex, TW1 4SX, England. E-mail:

Treasurer: Dr P J T Morris, Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD, E-mail:

Membership: Prof W P Griffith, Department of Chemistry, Imperial College, London, SW7 2AZ, England, E-mail:]

Newsletter Editor: Dr Anna Simmons, Epsom Lodge, La Grande Route de St Jean, St John, Jersey, JE3 4FL

The Historical Group exists to encourage an interest in the history of chemistry and chemical industry among members of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and others. Membership is open to non-members of the RSC and embraces a wide range from those whose interest in the history of chemistry is a hobby to teachers of chemistry at all levels and professional historians.

The Group holds twice yearly meetings when academic papers are read and discussed. Summaries of papers read at these meetings are included in the Historical Group Newsletter along with reviews of recent books in the subject and news of other meetings and forthcoming events. The Newsletter is published twice yearly. Contributions of not more than 500 words on topics of current interest in the history of chemistry are invited for inclusion at the discretion of the Editor. The contents of the last issue, Winter 2014, are given below with a link to the PDF (1.9 MB).

Next Meetings

The next meeting will be on "A Revolution in Chemical Analysis and Instrumentation" will be held starting at 14.00 pm on Wednesday 19 March 2014 at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BA [Click here for a map of the location of Burlington House which is labelled "The Royal Acad of Arts" (As well as the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House also contains the Geological Society, Linnean Society, Royal Astronomical Society and Society of Antiquaries)].

A Revolution in Chemical Analysis and Instrumentation

This meeting will examine the dramatic changes in chemical analysis and instrumentation between the 1940s and 1980s.


14.00Introduction by the Chair
14.05Peter Morris (Science Museum)
   Infra-red spectroscopy
14.30John Marshall (Glasgow Caledonian University)
   Atomic absorption spectroscopy
15.00Keith Jennings (University of Warwick)
   Mass spectrometry
15.40Tea and coffee break
15.55Gareth Morris (University of Manchester)
   Nuclear magnetic resonance
16.35John Nicholson (St Mary's University College)
   Partition chromatography and the origins of HPLC
17.05General Discussion
17.20Close of Meeting


There is no charge for the meeting but PRE-REGISTRATION IN AVANCE IS ESSENTIAL by e-mail to, before Monday 7 March 2014 or write to Professor John Nicholson, School of Sport, Health and Applied Science, St Mary's University College, Waldegrave Road, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, TW1 4SX enclosing a stamped, addressed envelope, by Monday 10 March 2014.

How to join the Historical Group:

If you are a member of the RSC you should contact the Membership Department (01223 432141) quoting your name and membership number. When you have done this please inform the Group's Membership Secretary, Prof W P Griffith, Department of Chemistry, Imperial College, London, SW7 2AZ, England, E-mail:]. Those who are not qualified to join the RSC but who are interested in the history of chemistry are welcome to join the Group at an annual subscription of £12 per annum. Please send your name, address, phone number, email address and a cheque for £12 made out to "The Royal Society of Chemistry Historical Group" to Prof W P Griffith, Department of Chemistry, Imperial College, London, SW7 2AZ, England. All members of the Group can download the Newsletter as a PDF. Hard copies are available if ordered in advance.

Other Useful Web pages

The Group maintains contact with colleagues in the Division of the History of Chemistry of the American Chemical Society and the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences.

The Library & Information Centre, Historical Chemistry Information Service.

The Chemical Heritage Foundation.

ACS Historical Division.

The Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry.

Details of Nobel Prize winners; portraits; and other details.

List of Nobel Prize winners for Chemistry.

Chemical Heritage Foundation.

History of Pharmacy Forum.

The History of Chemical Engineering.

The Classic Chemistry Page.

Alchemy Home Page.

Historic samples and specimens from the Chemistry Department, Imperial College, London.

History of chemistry in Heidelberg

Science & Civilisation in China Project (Needham Research Institute).

There is a History of Chemistry Mail List or email

To send messages email

Historical Group Newsletter
and Summary of Papers

Short articles on the history of chemistry for the Newsletter are welcome and should be sent to the editor, Dr Anna Simmons, Epsom Lodge, La Grande Route de St Jean, St John, Jersey, JE3 4FL Please consult the Instructions for Authors.

No 65. Winter 2014 Newsletter

For a PDF copy of the Newsletter (1.8 MB) click here


From the Editor

  From the incoming Chairman
  Changes to the Committee
  RSCHG Meetings: 2013-2014
  Royal Society of Chemistry Award for Service



  Members' Publications

  Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry
  News from the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF)

  Logwood Chips are History Chris Cooksey
  Edward Turner's Examination Paper, 1829-1830 - Alwyn Davies
  Thomas Andrews, MD, MRIA, Hon. FRSE, FRS, (1813-1885) - D. Thorburn Burns
  Alexander Williamson and the Modernisation of Japan - Alwyn Davies
  A Chance Encounter... - Alan Dronsfield
  Dedication of a New Monument to Professor and Mrs Alexander W. Williamson - Kemmyo Taira Sato
  Thomas Graham Lecture - Yoshiyuki Kikuchi

  Alwyn Davies and Peter Garratt, UCL Chemistry Department 1828-1974 (Bill Griffith)
  Prakash Kumar, Indigo Plantations and Science in Colonial India (Peter Reed)
  Eric Scerri, A Tale of 7 Elements (Alan Dronsfield)

  Mauveine Again Chris Cooksey

University of Southampton Bill Griffith
The Discovery and Progress of the Drug Ibuprofen Alan Dronsfield and Edwin Sylvester

  Chemistry Meets Medicine: Some Historical Perspectives
  The 24th International Congress of History of Science, Technology and Medicine, Manchester 21-28 July 2013
  Sites of Twentieth Century Chemistry, Uppsala, 21 August 2013
  9th International Conference on the History of Chemistry Uppsala, 22-25 August 2013




Contents of previous Newsletters (1996-2013)

PDFs of previous Newsletters (2010-2013)

Biographies of Chemists including Confusing Names 1-3 from Newsletters 1998-9

Last update 18 February, 2014

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