Crystallography and the kindergarten - a correction?

Jane Insley

Abstract


Christoph Meinel attributed the shift in chemical thinking required by the introduction of organic chemistry in the latter half of the 19th century to the influence of model making. He argued that this was enabled by the widespread availability of construction toys for children, based in the educational work of Friedrich Fröbel. I suggest that Fröbel’s ideas about toys were influenced by his own experiences in chemistry, most particularly by his time as assistant to the foremost crystallographer of the day, Christian Samuel Weiss. I base this on the startling similarity between illustrations in one of the most important crystallography texts of the 1820s and in Fröbel’s Pedagogics.


Keywords


Model making; crystallography; chemistry

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