Story of chemistry (Book)

Story of Chemistry

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  • Preface

    The Story of Chemistry is about the development of chemistry from antiquity, to the modern science it is today. Our aim is to make the history of chemistry accessible to a wide audience, including school students and non-specialists. We hope our readers enjoy the informal and graphic presentation of the book. In the interest of lucidity, we have taken certain liberties in the layout of the book. For example, text in quotation marks associated with a scientist may not be verbatim quotes, but rather, a simplified presentation of the idea. Readers can follow up this book with more academically rigorous works like The Historical Background of Chemistry by Henry M. Leicester. The design, illustrations, layout and digitization of the book have been done by Madhuvanti Anantharajan. My discussions, debates, agreements and disagreements with her have, in my opinion, contributed greatly to improving the quality of the book. I am grateful to her for being a fantastic partner in this project. Our book would not have been possible without the generosity and help of several people. Arvind Gupta at the Science Centre at the Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) has been the major driving force for this project. He participated actively at every stage, right from conceptualisation to editing. Moreover, he provided all possible logistical support for the project – introducing the author and illustrator, arranging funding and interacting with the publisher – which allowed us to focus on the writing and design of the book without having to worry about anything else. The book would not have happened without him. We are grateful to the Science Centre at IUCAA, where most of the work was carried out. We thank Vidula Mhaiskar, Ashok Rupner, Samir Dhurde and Arvind Paranjpye for their support, and for staying back late on several occasions to allow us to work. An added thank you to Vidula for her help with the illustrations and the periodic table at the end of this book. We thank Awanti Seth Rabenhøj, N. Madhavan, Venu Govindu, Sonali Shah and Amrita Hazra for editing the book and suggesting improvements. My parents, both scientists, have been a constant source of encouragement and have provided valuable inputs for the book. Also, from a very early age, they have inculcated in me and interest and excitement for chemistry. We thank Jamshedji Tata Trust for financial support for preparing the manuscript of the book.