Excerpts from A Book of Chemistry

Robert Wilhelm Eberhard Bunsen (30 March 1811 – 16 August 1899), a German chemist, was famous for saying that a chemist who professed not to know any physics could not be a genuine chemist.


The rise of organic chemistry soon put a strain on the amount of information and experimental demonstrations that a single professor could lecture on. It is this fact together with the limited opportunities for chemist trained in Germany to find academic posts, that caused several chemist in the 1850s to transform themselves into physicists.


Chemistry, as the science of transmutations and substitutions, turned the natural world upside down. The imitation of nature to the possibility of breaking with Nature and surpassing it to form an artificial world. However, none of this would have been possible without the physicists’ analysis of the deep structure of the atom that had begun at the end of the l9th century.

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