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Reflecting on the upsurge of interest among historians of chemistry in the material, artisanal, and commercial aspects of early modern chemistry, this essay argues that they are attracting attention because of a number of similarities between the style of chemistry cultivated in this period and the new cultures of chemistry being developed today. The close(More)
Crossing the boundaries – between nature and artifact and between inanimate and living matter – is a major feature of the convergence between nanotechnology and biotechnology. This paper points to two symmetric ways of crossing the boundaries: chemists mimicking nature's structures and processes , and synthetic biologists mimicking synthetic chemists with(More)
Put the different parts of a car in a big box, and shake the whole, will you get a car? This image is often used to express what self-assembly can achieve. 1 Spontaneous arrangements of small building blocks in ordered patterns or structures are ubiquituous in living systems, and they are crucial for designing at the nanoscale, where human hands and tools(More)
Scientists and engineers who extensively use the term " nanomachine " are not always aware of the philosophical implications of this term. The purpose of this paper is to clarify the concept of nanomachine through a distinction between three major paradigms of machine. After a brief presentation of two well-known paradigms-Cartesian mechanistic machines and(More)
This paper is a critical assessment of the epistemological impact of the systematic quantification of nature with the accumulation of big datasets on the practice and orientation of ecological science. We examine the contents of big databases and argue that it is not just accumulated information; records are translated into digital data in a process that(More)
The purpose of this paper is to reconsider the issue of the creativity of textbook writing by exploring the links between nineteenth-century French textbooks and the quest for a classification of elements. The first section presents the elegant combination of didactic and chemical constraints invented by eighteenth-century chemists: the order of learning -(More)