By Arnold Thackray
This examine is an outgrowth of our curiosity within the heritage of recent chemistry. The paucity of trustworthy, quantitative wisdom approximately previous technological know-how used to be introduced domestic forcibly to us after we undertook a study seminar within the comparative heritage of contemporary chemistry in Britain, Germany, and the USA. That seminar, which happened on the collage of Pennsylvania within the spring of 1975, was once paralleled by way of one dedicated to the paintings of the "Annales School". the 2 seminars jointly catalyzed the try to build ancient measures of swap in points of 1 technology, or "chem ical indicators". the current quantity monitors our effects. probably our labors will be such a lot usefully in comparison with the paintings of these scholars of medieval technology who commit their top efforts to the determine ment of texts. merely whilst applicable texts were made out of fragmentary and corrupt assets can students circulation directly to the extra pleasing company of creating heritage. So too within the smooth interval, an important pre liminary to the complete historical past of any medical occupation is the developing of trustworthy quantitative info within the kind of statistical sequence. This quantity doesn't supply heritage. as an alternative it presents convinced aspect- signs -- which may be beneficial to members attracted to the heritage of yank chemistry and chemical undefined, and suggestive for policy.
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Additional resources for Chemistry in America 1876–1976: Historical Indicators
2~1. ) 1876~1900. (See 24 CHAPTER 2 Membership in the ACS may serve as an explicit-discovered indicator of the size of the chemical profession. 2-2, which provides a century-long time series. 2-3. This latter graph juxtaposes membership in the American Chemical Society with the best-fitting exponential trend (with a growth rate of about 7% per annum), thus giving a standard of comparison for the indicator. The divergence between the exponential and the data is evident, especially in the leveling-off of ACS membership after World War II.
10 • 0 o ~ . -..... Members '. 014------+------+------+------+------+------+------t------+------t------+-----_+_ 1890 1900 1910 1930 1940 1950 1970 1870 1880 1920 1960 1980 YEAR Fig. 2~5. ACS members versus Census chemists, 1870~1979. S. Census and membership in the American Chemical Society are plotted together over time. 2-6 displays the ratio of these two series. This latter indicator illustrates the transformation of chemistry from a non-professional occupation in the 1890s to an almost wholly professional pursuit in the 1960s.
By the 1960s the profession and the occupation of chemistry were functionally equivalent. Chemistry as a profession has attracted a decreasing fraction of credentialled chemists during the past half century. Chemistry has also declined in relative importance as an occupation for "professional, technical, and kindred workers" during the last quarter century. Professionals are "trained and skilled in the theoretic or scientific parts of an occupation, as distinct from its merely mechanical parts".