the chemical society of london celebrates its 100th anniversary

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    The Chemical Society of London Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary

    W A L T E R J . M U R P H Y

    JL Centenary Celebrations of the Chemical Society, which would have been held in 1941 but for the second World War, took place in London July 14 to 17 with all the characteristic British pomp and traditional ceremoiry. Immediately preceding the Xlth International Congress of Pure and Applied Chemistry, more than 3,000 chemists and chemical engineers from all parts of the world assisted in the clbrt ion of the first century of existence of the Chemical Society, a hundred .years which constitute the most eventful century in known history, and it may be said with-out fear of contradiction that chemistry has played a leading role in making it so.

    The celebration of the hundredth an-niversary of the foundation of the Chemi-cal society just concluded contrasted sharply with the simple affair which marked the actual turn of the century for the society. In a London already badly damaged, fewer than 100 fellows gathered together on April 3, HJ41, for a wartime lunch instead of a ceremonious dinner. But a single overseas guest was present, J. B. Conant, president of Harvard Uni-versity, an honorary fellow of the society,

    who happened to be in England on a scientific mission.

    The words of the retiring presi-dent, Sir Robert Robinson, now president of the Royal Society, uttered on a day when the fate of a free world and a free science rested in the balance, are worth repeating in a report of the cele-brations:

    The society will not rest on its laurels*, and the glories of the next hundred years will equal those of the past. This is the faith in which the pioneers of 1841 would wish us to persevere.

    The first event in the four-day celebra-tion program occurred on Monday, July 14, when the president of the society, Cyril N. Hinshelwood, Oxford University, opened the centenary exhibition at the Science Museum, South Kensington. The chair on this occasion was occupied by the Rt. Hon. George Tomlinson, Minister of Education, who spoke briefly on the great contribution of science and particularly chemistry, during the past 100 years, and expressed the hope that the next century

    2198 C H E M I C A L A N D E N G I N E E R i N G N E W S

    Upper. Plut for ni delegation at the formal opening of the celebrations of the Chemical Society in the Central Hall, Westminster. Lower. Cyril . Ilinshelivood, president of the Chemical Society

    would see great expansion in Great Britain's contribution to the further advancement of science and the determination of the present government to assist in every possible way the achievement of this worthy goal. He also expressed the wish that in the future science would be devoted exclusively to the betterment of mankind and the continued advancement of the standard of living for all the peoples of the world.

    Responding, Dr. Hinshehvood reminded Mr. Tomlinsou that the true university & a collection of books "and that tho present acute shortage of paper in the United Kingdom is a great determent to the dissemination of scientific literature so es-

  • sential to continued progress in science." Sir Robert Robertson concluded the

    brief opening ceremony by thanking all those who had participated in the prepara-tion of the exhibition, and the audience then proceeded to inspect the examples of chemical progress during the past 100 years.

    Scope of the Exhibition

    T h e exhibition is divided into two sec-tions. The historical section, arranged by the joint exhibition committee of the Chemical Society and the X l t h Interna-tional Congress of Pure and Applied Chem-istry, under the chairmanship of Sir Rob-ert Robertson, illustrates the development of chemistry in Britain since 1811.

    T h e modern section, which was or-ganized b y the Depar tment of Scientific and Industrial Research with trie coopera-tion of the Agricultural Research Coun-cil, several research organizations, and other groups, deals with the impact of chemistry on man 's daily life. I t is a splendidly executed presentation of the great strides which have been made in both pure and applied chemistry since the year when 25 chemists met on March 30, 1841, in the rooms of the Royal Society of Arts "in order tha t they might consider the formation of a society for chemistry and mineralogy.' '

    T h e historical section consists of the following: (1) the properties of gases; (2) the solid s ta te ; (3) colloid science and surface chemistry; (4) liquids and solutions; (5) chemical reactions; (6) valency and atomic s t ructure; (7) inor-ganic chemistry; (8) agricultural chem-istry; (9) organic chemistry and bio-chemistry; (10) analytical chemistry.

    Section 2, prepared by James Laurie, is designed to give a clearer idea, to the lay-man of the ramifications and importance of chemistry in everyday life and, by detail-ing a few only of the myriad possible items, endeavors to show how the chemist works and the actual operations he puts into practice to secure the desired result, which m a y be needed for medicine, industry, agriculture, or the home. American

    Sir Robert Robinson, president of the Royal Society, greeting the Chemical Society on behalf of the sister societies of the United Kingdom


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    chemists and chemical engineers viewing th is section were universal in their laudatory comments and many expressed the hope t h a t a somewhat similar exhibit will be developed for widespread showing in t h e United States. .The exhibition will be opened t o the public until Sept. 30. W. . Noyes, Jr., presenting the

    formal address of the American Chemical Society which is reproduced above

    Formal Opening The formal opening of the celebrations

    took place in the Great Central Hall, Westminster, on Tuesday morning, July 15. The opening was preceded by a reception a t which the distinguished visitors and delegates representing kindred socie-M. T. Bogert presenting written addresses of congratulations on behalf of International Union of Chemistry and The Chemists' Club of New York

    V O L U M E 2 5, N O . 31 A U G U S T 4, 1 9 4 7 2199

  • Left. Linus Pauling, ivlio receive*! honorary degree of doctor of science from Uni-versity of London, and became an honorary fellou of the Chemical Society. Right. Sir Henry Dale being made an honorary fellow of the Chemical Society.

    ties and organizations from other coun-tries, from the Empire, and from great Britain were received by the president and the t'cuncil. The proceedings in the great hall opened with the colorful procession of delegates, many in academic dress rep-resenting overseas societies.

    In a historic address the president of the society, Cyril N . HinsKelwood, re-viewed the progress of chemistry by 20-year periods from the foundation of the Chemical Society in 1841. Emphasizing the fact that the society was founded a t a most opportune moment when t h e number of young chemists engaged in doing research was rapidly increasing, it provided the means for discussion a n d publishing their results. I t was a period of bitter controversy. The society pro-vided the one opportunity for bringing together those with divergent and oppos-ing theories which ul t imately were re-solved and the science of chemistry in the modern sense made possible.

    Since 1937 Dr. Ilinshelwood has been Or . Lee's Professor of Chemist ry at Oxford University. One of Britain's outstanding physical chemists, he has made researches

    into the mechanism of chemical reactions which are characterized b.y simple b u t exact experimental methods. His ta lent for clear presentation of his subject is apparent in his books, the best-known of which is "Kinetics of Chemical Change , " first published in 1926. He became a fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, in 1920 and a fellow and tutor of Trini ty College in 1921. In 1929 he was elected a fellow of t he Royal Society and received t h e D a v y Medal in 1942. Ba Socit Chim-ique de France awarded him its Lavoisier Medal in 1935.

    At the close of the president 's address Raymond Deiaby, president of the Chem-ical Society of France (founded 1857), speaking in behalf of all the delegates from overseas, congratulated the society on the achievement of its hundredth anni-v