The Edgar Falls Smith Memorial Collection in the History of Chemistry, University ofPennsylvania, . In Jane Haldimand married Alexander Marcet. Jane Marcet née Haldimand () was a writer of introductory science books. In she married Alexander Marcet, a Swiss exile and physician, she. Conversations On Chemistry [By J. Marcet]. by Mrs. Marcet [Jane Marcet] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. This book was originally.

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Her efforts to spread scientific knowledge were crucial to sharing the most important theories of chemistry among different audiences, particularly women and young people. Despite controversy over the large number of editions, this text is a strong onn to the active participation of women in science. Her scientific rigor and contribution to narrative strategies in chemistry pedagogy have given Jane Marcet consideration not only as an important woman in the scientific community of England during the first half of the 19th century but also as a central figure in the early development of chemistry diffusion and education.

Dissemination of chemistry through textbooks in the late Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Centuries. By these days, street conversations concerning chemistry issues discussed the use of chemicals that replaced pharmaceutical medicines. SinceSir Humphry Davy offered demonstration lectures oriented to a diverse audience ranging from middle class people to specialists, generating a fluid and active communication space with the aim of spreading the latest development in the field.

The increasing interest in this field is due to the early general recognition of chemistry knowledge as a comfortable material benefit as well a basis for industrial development. Therefore, those communicational bridges were established with the aim of incorporating all the citizens into the scientific dialogue. However, the lectures were oriented toward men, even in cases when there was active female participation.

Such book deals with principles of chemistry involving several conversations and discussions, concerning specific issues. The conversations occur between one female tutor and two female students offering a dynamic scenario to share knowledge from a specialized source. B is the tutor who wishes her students would appreciate the need for chemistry in their daily lives and two intelligent young girls, Caroline and Emily.

In contrast, Emily is a 13 year old excited by chemistry and visibly more curious, as it is shown in Conversations I, On the general principles of Chemistry of the 5th edition of In the same period Samuel Parkespublished Chemical Catechism in England, a book aimed to disseminate chemical knowledge. Daniell and Edward Turner inbecause the authors do not intend to offer a formal course, but rather a classification or systematization of knowledge.

Such works were rare in an era where elementary scientific instruction was largely developed through popular lectures. Both books were loaded with theory and discussions, and hence were suggested as excellent guidelines to the understanding of the state-of-the-art developments of chemical theory in the early 19th century.

Moreover, the dialogue format employed seeks to stress the human dimension of science, allowing students to participate actively in its evolution, 6 spreading the chemistry knowledge from a selected group of scientists to a large diverse audience involving both children and woman. According to the preface in the different editions of Conversations on Chemistry, the author attended lectures offered at the Royal Institution by Professor Sir Humphry Davy, where she realized that it was almost impossible to obtain a clear or satisfactory picture through such demonstrations.

She repeated a variety of experiments and shared her observations in informal conversations with her friends where discussions about current issues in chemistry were developed. This experience gave the author the conviction that dialogue was an important and useful source of information and discussion.

Conversations on chemistry [by J. Marcet]. By mrs. Marcet

The latter name strongly was supported by speculations derived from the name of one of the characters narcet Conversations, Mrs. Bryan or simply Mrs. Bryan alluded to Margaret Bryan in recognition of her career at that time, which was dedicated to the diffusion of science across different audiences.

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Marcet finally recognized her valuable work, 7 maintaining her name on the cover until the last edition in Figure 1. Jane Haldimand Figure 2 was born in London, England inthe eldest daughter in the well-to-do family of a Swiss banker and an Englishwoman. She received a homeschooled education where private tutors introduced topics on natural and physical philosophy, a traditional system of education among wealthy Swiss families.

When she was 17, she travelled to Italy where she became interested in painting and developed her talent for drawing through lessons with Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Lawrence.

Conversations on Chemistry, V. 1-2 by Mrs. Marcet

This ultimately led her to make elegant drawings in the illustrations of her books. His work and analysis was relevant for the diagnosis and control of renal calculi. Marcet was the first Foreign Secretary.

Marcet rapidly adopted the theories and discoveries from lectures at the Royal Society and conversations at her own household, where she paid particular attention to chemical issues, deciding to create a book for women who did not have access to the same privileged instruction. Marcet, marriage opened the doors to the world of science and allowed her to pursue the interests on her own terms.

Jane Marcet started writing her book in Once she finished it in the early autumn ofit was handed to her friend John Yelloyan English physicist who coordinated the editing, printing and publication of Conversations on Chemistry in two pocket size volumes.

She also published Conversations on Political EconomyConversations on Natural Philosophy dedicated to her siblings, Conversations on Evidences of ChristianityConversations on Vegetable Physiology and Conversations on the History of England The target audience of Conversations on Chemistry was from the beginning explicitly women, in part because the author identified herself as one.


The discourse generated among Mrs. Bryan, Caroline and Emily, is one of the most interesting aspects that made the book successful, being popular among different Chemistry textbooks in the 19th Century.

Interestingly such discursive style has been used since the Greeks, and was adopted by Galileo, Boyle among others. The author found it convenient, as it had been the way in which she acquired her chemistry knowledge, as she mentioned in the preface of her book. In Conversations on Chemistry, the preface was maintained from its first publication in until the last edition in with a slight modification at the end.

Despite this, the book was constantly reviewed and modified, and new elements were added by Mrs. Marcet according to the further discoveries in Chemistry, as well as, their important applications, such as the steam engine. Despite the great number of under-developed theories, she did not mention the work performed by Dalton related to the laws on chemical combination, which received the Medal of the Royal Society indue to her doubts about their validity.

An important aspect denoting the impact of Jane Marcet regarding the diffusion of chemistry knowledge 1314 is shown in the scientific education of Faraday between andsince it seems that Mrs. In a practical sense, Conversations on Chemistry explains several principles of chemistry in a fundamental manner, which is a constant through the different editions of the book.

The editors from the United States also added a system of questions at the end of each page, a glossary, guidelines for experiments, in addition to critical reviews that questioned the theories, drawings within the text, and experimental warnings.

All these modifications carried out in American versions of Conversations on Chemistry, were made in order to present it as an early education textbook. An important editor in the United States was J.

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ComstockFigure 4a former army surgeon during the war.

Comstock commented on the fourth edition in anonymously, under the pen name of American Gentleman. This name only appeared until The continuous competition among several editors originated sixteen editions between and and a highly imitative version, 5 New Conversations on Chemistry by Thomas P.

Jones, a chemistry professor from the Department of Medicine of Columbia College in Washington, leading to eighteen printings between and This acknowledgement was omitted in other editions, even in the cases that claimed to be faithful copies of the authors which were examined and stamped by Charles A. Ingersoll, a District employee.

For this reason, most copies of Conversations on Chemistry as a textbook in the United States, were attributed to the men who edited it. Moreover, besides the sixteen American editions, Conversations on Chemistry had four publications in Paris, one in Geneva and cnversations in Germany.

In England, the use of the book was apparently as Marcet expected: However, in the United States it became a successful textbook. At the time when the 16th English edition was released, Mrs. Marcet was 84 years old and her book had sold 20, copies in England, and an estimated total ofsales of the 15th and 16th editions in several countries. The extensive use converdations Conversations on Chemistry suggested its wide acceptance by American educators to introduce discussions about the basic theoretical and experimental ny of science, encouraged by the attractive style used by the author, the wide-ranging nature of the contents that Mrs.

B deals with, and the structure of reading comments of the American editions, written by Comstock.

Jane Marcet – Wikipedia

Marcet could not control the additions or modifications to her book in the numerous copies in the American market, nor did she receive any benefits for the sales of the American editions, due to the absence of a copyright law in the United States, which appeared in for national citizens, and a century later for foreign authors.

Dorman Steele publishedwhich only dealt with the practical part of chemical knowledge needed in the schoolroom, the kitchen, the farm and the shop, and a male version of Conversations on Chemistry, called Dialogues in Chemistry by Jeremiah Joyce involved described dialogues between a male tutor conversatios two young jabe, Charles and James.

The long-term effort of Jane Marcet crowned by Conversations on Chemistry, is a significant example of female participation in science in the early 19th century and their active role in scientific communication. Also, through the several editions of her book a rich testimony of the development of vast amount of chemistry theories developed by several scientists from the 19th century, in which she aimed to spread the chemistry knowledge from a bu group of scientists to a large diverse audience involving both children and woman.

The popular lectures and reading books about natural philosophy, astronomy, chemistry and botany legitimized little by little the inclusion of a female audience in the contemporary scientific theories.

In For Better or For Worse? New York,cap. Their changing roles from alchemical times to the middle-twentieth centuryChemical Heritage Foundation: World58; Pearce, W. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Services on Demand Journal. May 29, ; Accepted: How to cite this article.