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Department of History and Philosophy of Science


AD HOC (Association for the Discussion of the History of Chemistry) is a group dedicated to the history of chemistry. While our main focus is historical, we also consider the philosophical, sociological, public and educational dimensions of chemistry.

AD HOC has been meeting in various configurations since the summer of 2004, first at UCL and then also in Cambridge since 2010. Since 2008 our activities have been generously supported by the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry (SHAC).

Currently we are continuing with the format of online discussion meetings run from Cambridge. This term we will have more sessions studying recent work by members of the group, and each time joined by the author herself or himself in the discussion.

We will be meeting on Mondays at 5.00–6.30pm UK time. Please contact Hasok Chang (hc372) if you would like to be on the mailing list of the group. Those on the list will receive the links for joining the online meetings, the exact specification or copies of the readings, and all updates on future activities.

Lent Term 2022

31 January Carmen Schmechel (Freie Universität Berlin)
Descartes on fermentation in digestion: iatromechanism, analogy and teleology
14 February Elli Papanikolaou (University of West Bohemia)
Paracelsus's matter theory
28 February Georgiana (Jo) Hedesan (University of Oxford)
Alchemy and Paracelsianism at the Casino di San Marco in Florence
14 March Chris Campbell and Chiara Ambrosio (University College London)
The chemistry of relations: Peirce, perspicuous representations and experiments with diagrams