We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Department of Philosophy


Publication details for Professor Matthew Daniel Eddy

Eddy, Matthew Daniel, Mauskopf, Seymour H. & Newman, William R. (2014). An Introduction to Chemical Knowledge in the Early Modern World. Osiris 29(1): 1-15.

Author(s) from Durham


The essays in this volume collectively cover the development of chemistry in the “early modern world,” that is to say, from the fifteenth century through the eighteenth century. Until comparatively recently, this period was of less interest to historians of chemistry than the succeeding era of the emergence of “modern” chemistry, with its familiar chemical elements, compounds, and equations. But recent research, exemplified by the essays of this volume, has shown how exciting and complex this era in the history of chemistry was in its own right. And its backdrop of early modern European and world history was critically significant for the development of the
modern world. The beginning of this period witnessed the high water mark of the Renaissance, the inception of global “outreach” of sea voyages and explorations by Europeans, the Protestant Reformation, and the beginning of bureaucratic national
monarchies and smaller political entities. Its conclusion was marked by those revolutionary sequels to the Age of Enlightenment that also ushered in the modern world: the French and Industrial Revolutions.