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Dr. Eric Scerri      

UCLA Chemist, Author, Educator, Historian and Philosopher of Science

Dr. Eric Scerri is a chemist, author and leading historian and philosopher of science, specializing in the periodic table of the chemical elements. He is the author of "The Periodic Table, Its Story and Its Significance" (Oxford University Press, 2007) and numerous other books on this and related topics.

His writing includes a number of books directed at the general public such as "A Very Short Introduction to the Periodic Table and 30-Second Elements." He is a frequent contributor to popular science magazines such as Scientific American and New Scientist.

Dr. Scerri has been a full-time lecturer in chemistry and history & philosophy of science at UCLA for the past fifteen years where he regularly teaches classes of 350 undergraduates as well as classes in history and philosophy of science. His research ranges across many areas including chemical education, and historical and philosophical questions such as the relationship between chemistry and quantum physics.

He has been a consultant for TV and radio programs and has appeared extensively in TV interviews such as in the highly successful PBS series titled “The Mystery of Matter.”

In his latest book, A Tale of Seven Scientists and A New Philosophy of Science In his latest book, Eric Scerri presents a completely original account of the nature of scientific progress. It consists of a holistic and unified approach in which science is seen as a living and evolving single organism. Instead of scientific revolutions featuring exceptionally gifted individuals, Scerri argues that the "little people" contribute as much as the "heroes" of science. To do this he examines seven case studies of virtually unknown chemists and physicists in the early 20th century quest to discover the structure of the atom.

Dr. Scerri has given lectures to general audiences on all six continents.

Speech Topics

How and why science matters to our lives

Neither the political right nor the left generally have a good understanding or acceptance of science. The right denies climate research, reproductive science and evolution. Some on the left favors anti-scientfic New Age philosophies and remedies. It denies vaccines. Science is seen as an enigma that is the province of a super rational and especially talentend elite. My talk sets out to dismiss these view. I argue that science proceeds gradually through trial and error not as a result of genius. I argue that it is the product of the 'little people' as much as the scientific heroes.

Hot Topics

  • How the Periodic Table of the Chemical Elements Emerged
  • What is this thing called science?
  • Why does chemistry matter?
  • A Tale of Seven Elements


Upcoming lectures and conference appearances
February 20th - Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri, plenary lecture to Science and Mathematics Distinguished Speaker series April 4th - Chairing Meeting of IUPAC Working Group on group 3 of the periodic table, American Chemical Society Meeting, San Francisco June 29th - Seminar Series on History and Philosophy of Chemistry University of Paris, Diderot, Classification périodique des éléments : éléments d’histoire et de philosophie des sciences July 3rd–5th - International Society for the Philosophy of Chemistry 21st annual meeting. SPHERE Center, University of Paris Diderot July 6th - Start of one-month fellowship at University of Turin, Italy July 12th-15th - Lecture to Segrè Summer School of Chemical Education, Turin, Italy October 20th - Plenary Lecture to Midwest Regional Meeting of American Chemical Society, University of Kansas, Lawrence November 11th - Plenary Lecture to Southeastern Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Charlotte, North Carolina - See more at: http://ericscerri.com/speaking.html#sthash.bEKO0ZtM.dpuf

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