How to See a Diagram: A Visual Anthropology of Chemical Affinity

  title={How to See a Diagram: A Visual Anthropology of Chemical Affinity},
  author={M. Eddy},
  pages={178 - 196}
  • M. Eddy
  • Published 2014
  • Philosophy, Medicine
  • Osiris
In 1766, Thomas Cochrane entered the Edinburgh classroom of Joseph Black (1728–99) to learn chemistry for the first time. Cochrane was studying medicine, and, like so many of Black’s students, he dutifully recorded several diagrams in his notebooks. These visualizations were not complex. They were, in fact, simple. One of them, reproduced in this essay, was a single “X,” a chiasm. Black used it to illustrate ratios of chemical attraction. This diagram is particularly important for the history… Expand
7 Citations


Black's chiasm occurs in most sets of student notes and in his notes
    For a 1770s version, see Joseph Black
    • Chemical Heritage Foundation
    Heads of Philological Lectures, Intended to Illustrate the Latin Classicks
      Oftentimes the only way to find copies of tables used by professors is to scour student notebooks. 24 The graphic format of school textbooks and notebooks is given in Eddy
      • Classes Fossilium: Sive, Characteres Naturales et Chymici Classium et Ordinum in Systemati Minerali