Experiments, Models, Paper Tools

Experiments, Models, Paper Tools

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In the early nineteenth century, chemistry emerged in Europe as a truly experimental discipline. What set this process in motion, and how did it evolve? Experimentalization in chemistry was driven by a seemingly innocuous tool: the sign system of chemical formulas invented by the Swedish chemist Jacob Berzelius. By tracing the history of this a€œpaper tool, a€ the author reveals how chemistry quickly lost its orientation to natural history and became a major productive force in industrial society. These formulas were not merely a convenient shorthand, but productive tools for creating order amid the chaos of early nineteenth-century organic chemistry. With these formulas, chemists could create a multifaceted world on paper, which they then correlated with experiments and the traces produced in test tubes and flasks. The authora€™s semiotic approach to the formulas allows her to show in detail how their particular semantic and representational qualities made them especially useful as paper tools for productive application.... most successfully substantiated during the past two or three decades in studies of experimental practices.1 In many of these studies, the ... aquot;Practices of theory, aquot;2 aquot;semiotic turn, aquot;3 aquot;models as autonomous agents, aquot;4 aquot;conceptual practice, aquot;5 aquot; theoretical ... simply because they are handling paper and pencil instead of working in laboratories or traveling through the world. ... and on the question of how new experimental objects and inscriptions and concepts bound up with them Introduction.

Title:Experiments, Models, Paper Tools
Author: Ursula Klein
Publisher:Stanford University Press - 2003

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