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Why did alchemists want to find the philosopher’s 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.

Conducting and sharing research sits at the core of the Institute’s mission to preserve and interpret the history of chemistry, chemical engineering, and the life sciences. The Institute is home to dozens of scholars who use its varied collections of oral histories, modern and rare books, archival materials, art, and artifacts to examine the roles science and technology have played in the past, how they affect our modern world, and the ways they will shape the future.

Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry

Explore this center for scholars, which houses a public lecture series, weekly lunchtime talk series, writing group, book series, and more.

Online Collections

Search our objects, rare books, journals, reference collection, images, oral histories, and archives.

Center for Oral History

Learn more about the development and curation of our oral history collection.

Arnold O. Beckman Legacy Project

Take a look at the legacy of inventor and philanthropist Dr. Arnold O. Beckman.

Current Fellows

Meet the diverse members of the Science History Institute’s research community.



Search the Library and Digital Collections

Digital Collections


Midon, the Othmer Library Online Catalog

Archives Database (Full-Text Finding Aid Search)