What History Tells Us about the Distinct Nature of Chemistry.13 Feb 2018
Attention to the history of chemistry can help us recognize the characteristics of chemistry that have helped to maintain it as a separate scientific discipline with a unique identity. Three such features are highlighted in this paper. (1) Chemistry has maintained a distinct type of theoretical thinking, independent from that of physics even in the era of quantum chemistry. (2) Chemical research has always been shaped by its ineliminable practical relevance and usefulness. (3) The lived experience of chemistry, spanning the laboratory, the classroom and everyday life, is distinctive in its multidimensional sensuousness. Furthermore, I argue that the combination of these three features makes chemistry an exemplary science.