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p. 1Introductionlocked

  • William H. Brock


Chemistry has always been the science of matter and a technology for creating new things through metamorphosis and transmutation. In 1800 the elements and compounds known to chemistry numbered only a few hundred; today, they number more than seventy-one million. Few of these substances actually exist in nature; rather, they have been isolated, prepared, and studied by chemists in particular times and places by an evolving repertoire of laboratory practices and theoretical insights, and recorded in publications in various languages. This Introduction outlines the remit of this VSI to describe how explanations were found for the metamorphosis of materials and new transmutations were discovered, studied, and exploited.

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