Professor Eric Scerri

Last Updated: 5th November 1997

Biographical Note

Professor Eric Scerri currently in the Chemistry Department of Bradley University in Illinois wrote a PhD thesis on the question of whether chemistry is reduced to quantum mechanics. He continues to work on this topic, including a paper due to appear in International Studies in Philosophy of Science entitled ``Popper's Naturalized Approach to the Reduction of Chemistry''. Here he claims to build on Popper's notion that reduction is not an all or nothing affair but should be examined in a naturalistic manner akin to a scientists approach to the problem, that is by examining what can be derived from first principles of the theory in question. He has been a research fellow in History and Philosophy of Science at the LSE and at the California Institute of Technology before taking up his present appointment. Scerri is active in promoting the field of Philosophy of Chemistry through articles and organizing conferences and as editor of a new journal ``Foundations of Chemistry'' which invites submissions. He was also co-editor of a recent special issue of Synthese devoted to this topic.

He was fortunate enough to be invited to Karl Popper's home for a discussion lasting over three hours just one year before Sir Karl's death.



``Popper's Naturalized Approach to the Reduction of Chemistry'', International Studies in Philosophy of Science, (in press)

``Has the Periodic Table Been Successfully Axiomatized?'' Erkentnnis (in press)

``The Periodic Table and the Electron'', American Scientist, 85, 546-553, 1997.

``Interdisciplinary Research at the Beckman Institutes'', Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 22, 131-137, 1997.

``Chemical Periodicity'', in Macmillan Encyclopedia of Chemistry, J.J. Lagowski ed., Macmillan, New York , volume 3, (1997), 23-33.

``The Case for Philosophy of Chemistry'', Synthese , 111, 213-232, 1997.

``The Rise and Fall of Causality in Science,'' in Causality and Computability in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Philosophy, Proceedings of the 1995 ZiF Meeting in Bielefeld, K. Mainzer and A. Müller, eds., Vieweg (in press).

``The Evolution of the Periodic Table,'' Scientific American (in press)

``A Bibliography for the Philosophy of Chemistry'', Synthese , 111, 305-324, 1997.

``It All Depends What You Mean By Reduction,'' in From Simplicity to Complexity, Information, Interaction, Emergence, Proceedings of the 1994 ZiF Meeting in Bielefeld, K. Mainzer, A. Müller, and W. Saltzer, eds., Vieweg-Verlag (in press).

``Are Chemistry and Philosophy Miscible?,'' Chemical Intelligencer , 3, (1997), 44-46.

``Reduktion und Erklärung in der Chemie,'' Philosophie der Chemie - Bestandsaufnahme und Ausblik, K. Ruthenberg and N. Psarros, J. Schummer, eds. (Würtzburg, Köningshausen & Neumann, 1996), 77-93.

``Why the 4s Orbital Is Occupied before the 3d,'' Journal of Chemical Education , 73, 6, (1996): 498-503. (Co-authored with M. Melrose).

``Stephen Brush, The Periodic Table and the Nature of Chemistry,'' in Die Sprache der Chemie, P. Jannich and N. Psarros, eds. Proceedings of the Second Erlenmeyer Colloquium on Philosophy of Chemistry :169-176 (Würtzburg, Köningshausen & Neumann, 1996).

``Why is there (Almost) no Philosophy of Chemistry?'' Historical Group of Royal Society of Chemistry Newsletter and Summary of papers , February 1996, 19-24. (co-author L. McIntyre).

``Philosophy of Chemistry Resurgens'' Chemical Heritage 13, no. 1 (Winter 1995-96): 33, Beckman Center for History of Chemistry, Philadelphia .

``The Exclusion Principle, Chemistry and Hidden Variables,'' Synthese , 102 (1995): 165-169.

``Has Chemistry Been at Least Approximately Reduced to Quantum Mechanics?'' in PSA 1 (1994): 160-170, D. Hull, M. Forbes, and R. Burian, eds.

``Plus ça Change . (The Periodic Table),'' Chemistry in Britain 30, no. 5 (1994): 379- 381.

``Prediction of the Nature of Hafnium from Chemistry, Bohr's Theory and Quantum Theory,'' Annals of Science 51 (1994): 137-150.

``The Reduction of Chemistry, Popper and Induction,'' in The Philosophy of Chemistry, Report of a meeting held at Science Museum, London, October 1993, Royal Society of Chemistry, London, 1993.

``Is Chemistry a Reduced Science?'' Education in Chemistry 30, no. 4 (1993): 112.

``Configurational Energy and Bond Polarity Index,'' Journal of Physical Chemistry 97 (1993): 5786.

``Correspondence and Reduction in Chemistry,'' in Correspondence, Invariance and Heuristics. Essays in Honour of Heinz Post, S. French and H. Kamminga, eds., Boston Studies in Philosophy of Science, no. 148: 45-64 (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1993).

``Electronic Configurations, Quantum Mechanics and Reduction,'' British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 42, no. 3 (1991): 309-325.

``Chemistry, Spectroscopy and the Question of Reduction,'' Journal of Chemical Education 68, no. 2 (1991): 122-126.

``Eastern Mysticism and the Alleged Parallels with Physics,'' American Journal of Physics 57, no. 8 (1989): 687-692.

``Vychodní Mysticismus A Udajné Paralely s Fyzikou,'' Universum (Prague) 13 (1994): 3-13. Czech Translation of above paper from American Journal of Physics (1989).

``Transition Metal Configurations and Limitations of the Orbital Approximation,'' Journal of Chemical Education 66, no. 6 (1989): 481-483.

``The Tao of Chemistry,'' Journal of Chemical Education 63, no. 2 (1986): 106-107.

``The Physical Significance of the Planck Length,'' Indian Journal of Theoretical Physics 28 (1980): 389.

``Low Frequency Raman Spectra of Polyoxymethylene,'' Polymer 20, no. 12 (1979): 1470.

``The Mass-Space-Time Continuum,'' Speculations in Science and Technology 1, no. 3 (1978): 289.

Letters to the editor

Why the 4s Orbital is Occupied Before 3d, Journal of Chemical Education, 74, 616, (1997)

Demystification at what cost? Journal of Chemical Education, 74, 480 (1997)

Periodic Blunder, Education in Chemistry , 32, 93 (1995)

Explained Away, Education in Chemistry, 31, 3 (1994)

Periodic Praise, Education in Chemistry, 31, 55 (1994)

A Question for Theoreticians, Education in Chemistry, 30, 121 (1993)

Elementary Particles and Philosophy of Science, Physics Education, 28, 9 (1993)

Deducing Answers, Chemistry in Britain, 28, 11, 986 (1992)

Metal on its Mettle, Education in Chemistry, 29, 5, 126 (1992)

Quantum Extrapolation, Chemistry in Britain, 28, 9, 781 (1992)

The Nature of the Chemical Bond - Once More, Journal of Chemical Education, 69, 7, 602 (1992)

Praised Solution Raises Problem, Education In Chemistry, 29, 4, 96 (1992)

The Quantum and the Chemistry Teacher, Education in Chemistry, 29, 3, 68 (1992)

Quantum Chemistry Truth, Chemistry in Britain, 28, 4, 326 (1992)

The Electronic Periodic Table, Journal of Chemical Education, 68, 8, 712 (1991)

Aufbau Mnemonics, Journal of Chemical Education, 68, 5, 445 (1991)

Ionisation Energies Revisited Yet Again, Education in Chemistry, 28, 3, 69 (1991)

Ionisation Energies, Education in Chemistry, 27, 6, 155 (1990)

Reductionist Physics, Physics Education, 25, 3, 138 (1990)

Orbital Energies, Education in Chemistry, 26, 6, 183 (1989)

Presenting the Periodic Table, Education in Chemistry, 26, 3, 94 (1989)

Quantum Failure, New Scientist, 1651, 76 (1989)

Book Reviews

``Meaning of Quantum Theory,'' by J. Baggott, Chemistry in Britain 29, no 7 (1993): 612.

``The Historical Development of Chemical Concepts,'' by R. Mierzecki, Education in Chemistry 29, no. 3 (1992): 612.

``From Caveman to Chemist,'' by H.W. Saltzberg, Chemistry in Britain 28, no. 4 (1992): 357.

``The Correspondence of Michael Faraday,'' edited by F.A.J.L. James, Education in Chemistry 29, no. 1 (1992): 24.

Contact Information

    Department of Chemistry,
    Bradley University,
    Illinois, 61625.

    Telephone: +1 309 677 3029
    Fax:       +1 309 677 3023

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