Historical Sites of Chemistry: Foundation of the German Chemical Society

Author: ChemistryViews.org

On November 11, 1867, the German Chemical Society (Deutsche Chemische Gesellschaft, DChG), a precursor of the GDCh, was founded in the diorama of the Gropius brothers in the Georgenstraße in Berlin (today Universitätsstraße). The founding president was August Wilhelm von Hofmann.

The diorama was built by Carl Wilhelm Gropius 1826 – 1828 after the model of a procedure which Jaques Daguerre had presented in 1822 in Paris, France, in perfection of the peephole technique. Clever illuminations and moving the pictures increased the impression as if the observer is in the middle of a giant pictures. The operation of the diorama was later supplemented by the brothers Ferdinand and George Gropius by additional facilities. The building was demolished in favor of the construction of the tram in 1876.

To commemorate the founding of the German Chemical Society, a memorial plaque was unveiled on September 10, 2017. The plaque can be in front of the entrance of the Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum (library of the University of Berlin), Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 1/3. This is very close to the original location of the diorama.

The video shows this public event, which took place as an activity of the GDCh program “Historical Sites of Chemistry“. The historian Professor Christoph Meinel, University of Regensburg, Germany, spoke at the event. He is long-standing Chairman of the “History of Chemistry” group of the GDCh and the spokesman for the commission “Historical Sites of Chemistry”. His research focuses on the history of chemistry in the 18th and 19th century as well as the natural philosophy of the early modern period.

With its program “Historical Sites of Chemistry”, the GDCh recognizes achievements of historical importance to chemistry. The program started in 1999.


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