Make your own contribution to the history of science.
Why did alchemists want to find the philosophers’ stone? How did people in the past understand what made them sick? What does it mean to preserve the natural environment in the 21st century? These are just a few of the questions that scholars at the Science History Institute think about in their research.
At the Institute, our staff and visiting fellows conduct original research and present new stories to public and scholarly audiences. We invite you to use our collections and make your own contribution to shaping the history of science.
Every year, our Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry awards dozens of fellowships to scholars from around the world. We provide a vibrant scholarly community and access to world-class research collections. Scholars may also give lectures and workshop their ideas in our writing group.
Othmer Library of Chemical History
Our library is home to a world-class research collection and our nationally renowned Center for Oral History. With rare books, unique archival papers, and extensive runs of journals, we are an essential stop for anyone researching the history of science. The Othmer Library is open to researchers by appointment only.
Synthesis Book Series
We partner with the University of Chicago Press to publish books in the Synthesis series. Synthesis welcomes all historical treatments of chemistry, broadly construed, and its diverse roles in society. Authors are top scholars in the history of science and include Institute staff and past fellows.
History of Science Society
In 2022 the Institute partnered with the University of Pennsylvania to host the executive offices of the History of Science Society (HSS) in Philadelphia. Founded in 1924, HSS is the world’s oldest and largest society dedicated to understanding science, technology, medicine, and their interactions with society in historical context.
University of Pennsylvania
Many members of our staff also serve as associated faculty in the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of History and Sociology of Science. Each year, they teach classes related to their area of research to Penn’s undergraduate students.
More in Research
Schedule a Library Visit
The Othmer Library is open to researchers by appointment only Monday–Friday, 10am–4pm.
Search for rare books and manuscripts; books and journals; and hard-to-find sources like sample books, technical reports, conference proceedings, and more.
Rights & Reproductions
Digital reproductions of materials are available for scholarly and general use.
The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry comprises a dynamic community of scholars interested in the history and social studies of chemistry.
Center for Oral History
We develop and curate a growing collection of comprehensive, professionally conducted oral history interviews about science, scientists, and scientific practices.
Apply for a Fellowship
Researchers travel from all over the world to use our collections and take part in a vibrant scholarly community.