Calculating chemistry: how it used to be done, a witness account


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This work was published in Royal Society of Chemistry Historical Group newsletter and summary of papers, Winter 2023, 83, 26-37 (hard copy and online, but hard copy has pages in wrong order).            


A part of the material culture for scientists is means for calculation.  Today, they mainly use pocket scientific calculators and software loaded onto personal computers.  But their calculations were dominated throughout the twentieth century until the mid-1970s by slide rules, mathematical tables, and mechanical calculating machines, though these in the later years were complemented by institutional mainframe computers lacking in power, convenience, and reliability.  The article includes photographs of historic artefacts.




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