Chemical Societies and Unions

Chemical Societies and Unions


voluntary organizations of individuals involved in scientific research in chemistry and chemical engineering and the teaching of chemistry and chemical engineering, individuals working in chemical plants and in plant laboratories, and individuals who, regardless of their profession, contribute to or are interested in advances in chemistry.

The first such organizations appeared in the first half of the 19th century under the influence of the industrial revolution. Prior to this, chemists maintained contact with one another through personal meetings, correspondence, and the presentation of papers at academies of sciences and natural-science societies. These natural-science societies may be considered as precursors of the specialized scientific societies and unions, including chemical societies. A number of informal groups of chemists also existed, for example, A. L. Lavoisier’s group, which was active from 1770 to 1790.

In 1807 (according to some sources, 1805), C. L. Berthollet and P. S. Laplace founded the first physics and chemical society in the Paris surburb of Arcueil. The society, numbering about 20 members, including J. B. Biot, J. L. Gay-Lussac, A. von Humboldt, A. P. De Candolle, P. L. Dulong, E. L. Malus, S. D. Poisson, and L. J. Thénard, was disbanded as a “hotbed of Bonapartism” after the Restoration. The society’s major principles were the comprehensive discussion of scientific works before their publication, full freedom of expression of opinion, and the responsibility of the authors for reported facts and conclusions. These principles have remained the guidelines for chemical societies that subsequently emerged. Among the first chemical societies to be founded were the Chemical Society in London (founded 1841), the Paris Society (1857; the Chemical Society of France since 1907), the German Chemical Society (1867), the Russian Chemical Society (1868; see), and the American Chemical Society (1876).

There are chemical societies in almost all countries. The societies of 45 countries (16 directly and the others through national academies of science or national research councils) are members of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. In addition to the national chemical societies, there exist a number of international chemical societies that coordinate research in specific areas of chemistry. Many of these specialized societies are associated with the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. They include the Association of Official Analytical Chemists, the International Committee on Surface Active Agents, the International Association for the Advancement of High Pressure Science and Technology, the International Association of Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry, the International Committee on Rheology, the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry, the International Society for Magnetic Resonance, the International Society of Electrochemistry, the International Society of the Chemistry of Heterocyclic Compounds, the European Photochemistry Association, the European Federation of Chemical Engineering, and the Federation of European Chemical Societies.

Chemical societies and unions publish journals and collections of articles, hold regular scientific meetings and sessions, and organize chemical congresses, including international chemical congresses.