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Josep Grau Bové
L'aire i els "aires" a la Catalunya del segle XVIII: Una reinterpretació de la Revolució Química
Supervisor/s: Agustí Nieto-Galan
Date of defense: 07-09-2011

The practice of chemistry in the end of the 18th century in Catalonia is usually studied under the simplistic scheme of a periphery that passively receives the knowledge of the center. The study of the most significant memoirs of the Real Academia de Ciències i Arts de Barcelona and the Real Col·legi de Cirurgia de Barcelona undermines these assumptions and shows us that the reception of knowledge is often creative and that theories are re-interpreted and appropriated. More precisely, the paper exposes how practitioners of chemistry with different professional backgrounds appropriate the ideas surrounding oxygen -vital air, salubrity of air, eudiometry, balloons, atmospheric pressure- and develop them autonomously. It shows that the content of the memoirs was always in an intermediate point between popularization, education and the proper making of knowledge. Finally, this work shows that we should not speak about the Chemical Revolution as a sudden break with older traditions, but as a process of a notable continuity, which is quite visible when studying particular cases.

 

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