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Chemistry International

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Volume 41, Issue 3


A Century of Nomenclature for Chemists and Machines

Evan Hepler-Smith / Leah McEwen
Published Online: 2019-06-14 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ci-2019-0315


The chemist’s tongue is sticking out and his eyes are upturned in concentration. Spirals circle above his head; the chemist is confused. His body twisted into a knot, he slowly backpedals, one finger pointing straight up, the other pointing backwards. To his side, a chart displays a maze, or perhaps a diagram of a complex logic circuit, illustrating an arcane web of decisions and procedures. A dot sits at rest within the diagram, marking the stymied chemist’s progress through this maze. It is annotated with a comment: “You are here. Why?”


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About the article

Evan Hepler-Smith

Evan Hepler-Smith < > is Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Boston College. His book in progress, Compound Words: Chemists, Information, and the Synthetic World, explores how nomenclature systems and information management have shaped the history of modern chemistry.

Leah McEwen

Leah McEwen < > is chemistry librarian at Cornell University, USA. She is a member of the IUPAC Committee on Publications and Cheminformatics Data Standards (CPCDS), co-chair of the CPCDS Subcommittee on Cheminformatics Data Standards, and secretary of the InChI Subcommittee. ORCID.org/0000-0003-2968-1674

Published Online: 2019-06-14

Published in Print: 2019-07-01

Citation Information: Chemistry International, Volume 41, Issue 3, Pages 46–49, ISSN (Online) 1365-2192, ISSN (Print) 0193-6484, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ci-2019-0315.

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©2019 IUPAC & De Gruyter. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. For more information, please visit: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/.Get Permission

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