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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).

This term we will alternate between online and in-person meetings. For each session, we will discuss recent works with the author herself or himself joining us in the discussion.

The Michaelmas sessions are organised jointly by Hasok Chang ( and Sarah Hijmans ( If you would like to be on the mailing list of the group, please email one of us.

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.

Michaelmas Term 2022

Monday 10 October, 5.00–6.30pm (in person)
Elisabeth Moreau (Visiting Postdoctoral Scholar/Université Libre de Bruxelles)
Galenic medicine and the atomist revival in the late Renaissance

Monday 17 October, 5.00–6.30pm (in person)
Sarah Hijmans (Visiting Student/Université Paris Cité)
The identification of simple substances, 1770–1870

Monday 24 October, 5.00–6.30pm (online)
Hjalmar Fors (Karolinska Institutet)
The alchemist's children: managing an alchemical heritage in the 18th century

Tuesday 8 November, 4.00–5.30pm (in person)
Peter Oakley (Royal College of Art)
Constructing temporalities in history of technology displays: the case of Geevor Mining Heritage Site, Cornwall

Tuesday 15 November, 4.00–5.30pm (in person)
Discussion of Technoscience in History in preparation for next meeting

Tuesday 22 November, 4.00–5.30pm (online)
Ursula Klein (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science)
Technoscience in history: Prussia, 1750–1850