|A classical though frequently neglected philosophical discipline, aesthetics
deals with sensations insofar as they induce emotions, attitudes, and judgments
beyond epistemic and moral judgments proper. Whether culturally embedded
or spontaneously aroused, whether deliberately provoked or incidentally
occurring, and whether consciously or unconsciously received, aesthetic
messages accompany all our sensations and shape our attitudes towards the
world in a certain way. Aesthetics tries to understand the cultural rules,
formal conditions, and psychological mechanisms of these processes.
The purpose of this special HYLE issue is to make chemistry subject
to aesthetic analysis from different perspectives. This includes the cultural
image of chemistry as well as chemistry’s contribution to the image of
the world. In also includes the analysis of how chemists arrange their
laboratories, instruments, materials, texts, research objects and results,
according to aesthetic criteria. In addition, since chemists, more than
any other scientists, communicate with each other through images, the visualization
of chemical information requires particular attention.
We particularly welcome papers on one or more of the following topics.
Aesthetics of the image of chemistry
Portraits of chemists and alchemists in paintings, literature, and pop-cultural
media: What kind of aesthetic elements do they employ for mediating what
image? Are there historical shifts?
Chemical metaphors in the literature: roots, history, and connotations
"Natural versus synthetic": placing chemists and the chemical industry
in an aesthetic discourse
High gloss brochures and advertisements: analysis of aesthetic efforts
to improve the image of a profession
Aesthetic analysis of individual or corporate icons used by chemists
Aesthetics of the laboratory
The design of chemical instruments, laboratory equipment, working settings,
and plants beyond functionality: aesthetic messages, atmospheres, and social
symbolism. How are these elements employed in cultural representations
of chemistry, including science museums and the visual arts?
Aesthetics of chemical texts
Analysis of styles and genres of chemical texts, including the uses of
illustrations and the presentation of data, for different purposes and
readers, from journal papers to chemistry books for children
Alchemical allegories and emblems: history, iconology, and their legacy
to modern chemistry
Aesthetics of molecular systems and models
Formal criteria of the chemists’ sense of beauty and their relation to
general aesthetic theories
Purposes and trends of beautifying models
To which extent do aesthetic ideas guide the practice of chemical synthesis?
Do recent research trends towards molecular complexity, self-organization,
non-linear dynamics, chaos, transient states and species, etc. reflect
an aesthetic shift?
Aesthetics of problem solving
Are there generally accepted aesthetic criteria for preferring certain
solutions of epistemic or nonepistemic problems in chemistry, like simplicity
or elegance? What exactly do they mean, and how are they related to corresponding
criteria in other disciplines, like physics and mathematics?
Aesthetics of materials
How did chemistry contribute to aesthetic changes of ordinary life, e.g.
plastics, dyes, protective layers, cosmetics, odors, and flavors?
What role do sensual qualities of materials play in chemical practice,
today and in the past? Is there a special aesthetics of purity and impurity?
Do sensual qualities of chemical substances and reactions attract newcomers
and, particularly, children to chemistry? If yes, how could a curriculum
be set up according to aesthetic criteria?
How does or could chemistry enrich the aesthetics of materials in modern
art and design?
Manuscripts should follow the general Guidelines
for Contributions, available on the inside cover of HYLE and the HYLE
web site. Colored illustrations, even brief movies and three-dimensional
images, are acceptable for the internet version, but the text should also
be comprehensible with few simple b/w illustrations in the print version.
If you wish to include three-dimensional images that readers can manipulate
online, please contact the Editors in advance concerning appropriate file
formats. Send submissions to the Editor not later than August 31, 2002
in appropriate form for anonymous reviews. Send inquiries regarding suitability
of submissions, illustrations
etc. to the Editor or the Guest Co-editor.
The history of visualization in modern chemistry: from line drawings to
stereo-images, movies, and virtual reality simulations
Visual attractiveness and epistemic values in chemistry
Visualization as educational means: advantages and pitfalls
"Seeing is believing": case studies of the persuasive character of visualization
for establishing theories or theoretical entities in chemistry
Can visual images transfer chemical information not expressible in linguistic
Tami I. Spector, Guest Co-editor
Dept. of Chemistry, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
94117-1080, USA; email@example.com
Joachim Schummer, Editor
Institute of Philosophy, University of Karlsruhe, D-76128 Karlsruhe,
Addition made on October 20, 2003:
The special issue has been published in two parts, HYLE nos. 9-1 and 9-2, along with a virtual art exhibition "Chemistry in Art". To order the complete print volume with supplementary CD-Rom, please use our order form.
Copyright Ó 2001