GRE Reading Comprehension: JiJing 352-GRE阅读机经352篇 - 46X3HOI9XS7CGX0YK

Until the French Revolution of 1789 and the Napoleonic Wars at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, chemistry in European universities had generally led a marginal existence. Most university teachers of chemistry were there to provide a service for students of medicine and pharmacy. The number of significant research chemists could be reckoned as a few dozen internationally, and, with the partial exceptions of France and Germany, it made little or no sense to talk about national chemical communities. There were distinguished professors, for example, Hermann Boerhaave in the Netherlands at the beginning of the eighteenth century and Joseph Black in Edinburgh at the end of that century. For the most part, however, university chairs in chemistry were few and had little prestige. Chemistry, unlike medicine, did not constitute a profession in its own right. There were industries that were based on the application of chemistry, but most of these depended on a traditional mixture of ingredients: entrepreneurial skill, recipes that had been found to work, and the tactile expertise of the practitioner rather than the theoretical insights of the academic chemist. Chemists were of course engaged in practical applications of their science. In the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris, members of the Academy functioned in part as a scientific civil service and bent their energies to solving problems of water quality, street lighting, sewage disposal, and more. The French Enlightenment's great Encyclopedia was directly concerned with learning from the practice of artisans, and thereby both enriching theoretical understanding and improving craft and industrial practice. Joseph Black advised the masters of ironworks, Swedish chemists became expert mineralogists and consultants to the mining industry, and military chemists worked in many nations on the improvement of gunpowder. But in every one of these cases, chemistry was a tool, a servant not a master, in the view of patrons and the public if not in the view of the chemists themselves. Chemistry lacked prestige, and chemists often worked in isolation, with little recognition from the wider community of science. Newtonian physics and astronomy were the model sciences for the eighteenth century. Many shared the great eighteenth-century philosopher Immanuel Kant's view that chemistry was incapable of becoming a science and could never be more than a kind of systematic natural history, an organized compilation of facts derived from experiment and observation. Chemistry – socially, professionally, economically, and scientifically – was a poor relation in the hierarchical family of the sciences.