The reception of the periodic system of elements has received little attention. Many historians have studied Mendeleev's discovery of the periodic system, but few have analyzed how the scientific community perceived and employed it. American historian of science Stephen G. Brush concluded that the periodic law had been generally accepted in the United States and Britain and suggested the need to extend this study to other countries.
Early Responses to the Periodic System is the first collection of comparative studies on the reception, response, and appropriation of the periodic system of elements. This book examines the history of pedagogy and popularization in scientific communities, educational sectors, and popular culture from the 1870s to the 1920s. Fifteen historians of science explore eleven countries (and one region) central to chemical research, including Russia, Germany, the Czech lands, and Japan, one of the few
nation-states outside the Western world to participate in nineteenth century scientific research.
The collection, organized by nation-state, explores how local actors regarded the new discovery as law, classification, or theoretical interpretation. The section on France discusses how a small but significant group of authors, including Adolphe Wurtz and Edouard Grimaux, introduced the periodic system as support for the atomic theory-not as the final solution to the longstanding quest for a natural classification of elements. The chapter on Germany discusses the role of Lothar Meyer,
also awarded The Davy Medal for the discovery of the periodic system. Meyer's role was considered less important, and he was forgotten in his home country, Germany where educational tradition was well established, and the periodic system was not used as a novel didactic approach. In addition to discussing
the appropriation of the periodic system, the collection examines metaphysical reflections of nature based on the periodic system outside of chemistry and considers how far we can push the categories of "response " and "reception. "
Masanori Kaji is an Associate Professor of the History of Science at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. He wrote Mendeleev: The Discoverer of the Periodic Law of Elements (Toyo Shoten, 2007) and Mendeleev's Discovery of the Periodic Law of the Chemical Elements-The Scientific and Socieal Context of His Discovery (Hokkaido University Press, 1997).
Foreword ; List of Illustrations ; 1. Introduction ; Part I: Discovery and Early Work on the Periodic System ; 2. The Early Response of Mendeleev's Periodic System in Russia ; Masanori Kaji, Nathan Brooks ; 3. The Periodic System and its Influence on Research and Education in Germany between 1870 and 1910 ; Gisela Boeck ; Part II: Early Response at the Center of Chemical Research ; 4. British Reception of Periodicity ; Gordon Woods ; 5. Mendeleev's Periodic Classification and Law in French Chemistry Textbooks ; Bernadette Bensaude Vincent, Antonio Garcia Belmar ; Part III: Response in the Central European Periphery ; 6. Nationalism and the Process of Reception of Reception and Appropriation of the Periodic System in Europe and the Czech Lands ; So?a Strba?ova ; Part IV: Response in the Northern European Periphery (Scandinavian Countries) ; 7. When a daring chemistry meets a boring chemistry: The Reception of Mendeleev's Periodic System in Sweden ; Anders Lundgren ; 8. Reception and Early Use of the Periodic System: The Case of Denmark ; Helge Kragh ; 9. Ignored, Disregarded, Discarded? On the Introduction of the Periodic System in Norwegian Periodicals and Textbooks, c. 1870-1930s ; Annette Lykknes ; Part V: Response in the Southern European Periphery ; 10. Chemical Classifications, Textbooks, and the Periodic System in Nineteenth-Century Spain ; Jose Ramon Bertomeu-Sanchez, Rosa Munoz-Bello ; 11. Echoes from the Reception of Periodic Classification in Portugal ; Isabel Malaquias ; 12. Popular Science, Textbooks, and Scientists: The Periodic Law in Italy ; Marco Ciardi, Marco Taddia ; Part VI: Response Beyond Europe ; 13. Chemical Classification and the Response to the Periodic Law of Elements in Japan in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries ; Masanori Kaji