Sites of Chemistry in the 17th Century

Sites of Chemistry in the 17th Century

MaisonFrancaise, Oxford

17-19July 2014


This is the fourth conference of the project Sites of Chemistry, 1600-2000 which investigates the multitude of sites, spaces and places where chemistry has been practiced since the beginning of the 17th century. It is part of a series of four annual conferences each devoted to a particular century. A final conference will be held in 2015 to explore themes and developments over the whole period and on a broader comparative scale. Selected papers from each conference will be published in special issues of Ambix, and two volumes of essays will be published at the end of the project. The project is supported financially by the Wellcome Trust for the History of Medicine and is sponsored by the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry. Full details on the general project as well as on the past conferences are available at

The focus of this fourth conferenceis on the variety of physical sites where chemistry was practiced in the 17th century. Its main purposeis to analyze, first, who was practising chemistry in a particular site, where, how, to what ends, and the physical, social, cultural and economic organization of these sites; and second the wider social, economic, political and cultural contexts for the practice of chemistry through detailed examination of chemists’ interactions, in and around these sites, with other actors. Further details about the range of ‘Topics and Themes’ under studycan be found at

In the first conference in the series, on the 18th century, the majority of papers were on the second part of the century. To redress this we welcome proposals that go beyond the end of the 17th century and cover the early decades of the 18th century.

Conference format

There will be five non-parallel sessions over the two days of the conference with 3 or 4 papers in each session. Each session will consist of a 15-minute presentation of each paper, followed by a 15-minute report on all the papers by a commentator and then a general discussion. Commentators will be asked to summarize key points of the papers and offer a few critical/constructive thoughts on them as the focus for discussion.

Full versions of papers are due to be submitted for pre-circulation by 15June 2014. Papers should be no more than 6,000 words in length. They will be made available only to registered participants in the conference via a restricted section of the project’s website three weeks before the conference.

The conference will open with registration and a reception at the Oxford Museum of the History of Science on the evening of Thursday, 17 July and there will be a conference dinner on Friday, 18 July.

Proposals for Papers

Proposals in the form of a 300-word summary should be sent to the organisers Antonio Garcia Belmar,, and John Perkins,

Deadline for proposals: 28 February 2014.

Decisions will be announced by 6 March 2014.

We particularly welcome proposals from doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers.


There will be no registration fee for the conference. The accommodation costs (for the nights of 17th and 18thJuly) of those giving papers will be paid by the project. The project will be able to subsidise the travel costs of those giving papers up to a maximum of £200, or €250. It may be possible to increase this amount especially for doctoral students and those who do not have access to research funds.