When science went international

The notion of international conferences are a commonplace anymore. But such was not the case over 150 years ago. The first international scientific conference was held on Sept. 3rd, 1860. Sarah Everts marks the 150 years of science as international discipline with this fascinating article in C&E News.

Here is an excerpt:

When the 1860 conference began, chemistry was in a total state of disarray. Although most chemists believed in atoms and molecules, nobody could agree on molecular formulas. Even simple molecules such as water were hotly debated: Most leading chemists at the time claimed that water’s molecular formula was OH, and a minority argued that it was H2O. More complex molecules were an even bigger battleground: At least 19 different representations of acetic acid were being used in textbooks of that era.

The motivation for the conference is obvious. Read the entire article to understand its significance.

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