Opening Plenary MWRM 2022

Title: TBD

Professor Robert Hamers – University of Wisconsin Madison

October 19th, 2022

Closing Plenary MWRM 2022

Microheterotopias: Chemistry Meets Glassblowing

Professor Catherine M. Jackson – University of Oxford

October 21st, 2022


The American Chemical Society’s logo includes a triangular graphic representing an item of scientific glassware. This is the Kaliapparat (potash bulbs). Desperate to solve one of the most pressing scientific problems of his day, the young Justus Liebig made the first Kaliapparat in the fall of 1830. Using the Kaliapparat, he became one of the nineteenth century’s greatest chemists. But the Kaliapparat altered much more than the course of Liebig’s career. His decision to make the Kaliapparat by bending and blowing glass tubing changed how chemists worked and were trained, with important consequences for the developing science of chemistry and its relationship to glassblowing. Managing other worlds in glass – the Microheterotopias of my title – is vital in chemists’ ability to control and manipulate matter. But making Microheterotopias relies on the skill of the scientific glassblower. This talk explains what happened when chemistry met glassblowing – and why that connection remains vital today.

Author Biography:

Catherine M. Jackson is Associate Professor of the History of Science in the University of Oxford and Peck Fellow at Harris Manchester College. She was previously Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A native of the UK, Jackson originally trained as a synthetic organic chemist in Cambridge (PhD, 1989) before working for almost a decade in the petroleum industry. Drawn to the history of science through a second career teaching chemistry, she retrained as a historian of science at the University of London (PhD, 2009). She has held research fellowships at the University of Notre Dame and Chemical Heritage Foundation in the USA, and at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, Germany.

Location: W290 CB

Time: 5:30pm

Hosted by: American Chemical Society Midwest Regional Meeting; Midwest Section of the American Scientific Glassblowers Society; UI Department of Chemistry