Division for the history of chemistry

About the division

The Division for the history of chemistry in the Norwegian Chemical Society works to stimulate the interest for the history of chemistry and to strengthen the contact between those who study the history of chemistry in Norway. The division serves as a connection to similar organisations in other countries as listed below.

Questions about the division can be send to:
Professor Bjørn Pedersen, Department of Chemistry, University of Oslo , P.O. Box 1033 Blindern, N-0315 Oslo
Phone: 22 85 56 90 Fax: 22 85 54 41 .  e-mail: bjornp@kjemi.uio.no.
Homepage: folk.uio.no/bjornp.

A concise history of chemistry in Norway

Julius Thaulow
Julius Thaulow

Production of goods was based from an early age on applied chemistry. Bog iron was produced in Norway in the Viking age, and the first pharmacies were established about 1600. Copper, iron and silver mines were in operation from about the same time. Chemistry was first taught at the college level at the Royal Mining School (bergseminaret) at Kongsberg from 1757.

The mining school was closed when the first university in Norway was founded in 1811 in Oslo (then called Christiania). The education of candidates for the mining industry was continued at the university until 1910, and from 1850 the university also educated candidates for the high schools. The first professors of chemistry, Jac Keyser and Julius Thaulow, concentrated on teaching and applied science. The first basic research was carried out by Cato M. Guldberg and Peter Waage in the development of the Law of Mass Action in 1864.

From 1905 the candidates could major in chemistry on the basis of a thesis based on their own original research. The most famous Norwegian chemist in the 20th century was Odd Hassel, Nobel Laureate in 1969. To day education and basic research in chemistry take place in seven Norwegian universities and applied research at several independent institutes supported by the government and industry.

Board of directors

Professor Bjørn Pedersen, Department of Chemistry, UiO (Chairman).
Professor Ragnar Bye, School of Pharmacy, UiO (Deputy chairman)
Professor Leiv Sydnes, Department of Chemistry, UiB.
Førsteamanuensis Annette Lykknes, Institute for Chemistry, NTNU (secretary)

Assistent professor Vivi Ringnes, The school laboratory for chemistry, UiO.

Election committee: Professor Lars Skattebøl and professor Arvid Mostad, both at the Department of Chemistry, UiO.

Similar organisations in other countries

Kemihistorisk nämd (Sverige)

Dansk selskab for historisk kemi

Historical group (RSC UK)

Division of historical chemistry (ACS USA)

Working party on the history of chemistry in EuCheMS

European Society for the History of Science