University of Erfurt

Projekt von Dr. Marco Storni

The Practice of Chemistry in Early Modern Germany

This project intends to go beyond the account of well-known aspects of seventeenth and eighteenth century chemistry (e.g. the “chemical revolution” and its premises), and conduct an inquiry into lesser-known chemical practices. The role of neglected figures, such as apothecaries and practitioners, will be emphasized, and the accent will be put on overlooked documents, such as recipes books, which many scholars tend to regard as the written expression of practices. From these sources, it will be possible to provide some information on the sites, the actors and the material culture of early modern chemistry. Rather than considering the developments of chemical practice in France or England, this project focuses on German chemistry, as it has been little studied so far, and deserves more accurate investigations. The case study at the centre of the project is chemistry in early modern Gotha, on account of the rich collection of manuscripts preserved in the Gotha Research Library. Furthermore, the study of early modern chemistry in Gotha has already been treated from other perspectives, most notably the history of alchemy, which this project integrates with a historical reconstruction based on scientific practices. The case study of Gotha is then to be framed within the wider developments of early modern chemistry in Germany and in the rest of Europe.


After completing my MA degree at the University of Milan, I started a PhD at the École Normale Supérieure of Paris and the University of Bologna. I defended my dissertation (“Maupertuis et ses critiques: textes et controverses”) in June 2018. Besides early modern epistemology and the history of the exact sciences, I am interested in scientific practices and in the development of an experimental culture in the early modern times.



User menu and language choice