Dr. Eric Scerri was educated at the Universities of London, Cambridge and Southampton. He then taught chemistry for about ten years at several private colleges in London and then at the American University of London, while also writing his PhD in the History & Philosophy of Chemistry at King’s College, London. After postdoctoral fellowships at the London School of Economics and Caltech he taught chemistry at Bradley University and Purdue University, for three years, before beginning at UCLA in the fall of 2000, where he has taught over 20,000 chemistry undergraduates, as well as teaching courses in history & philosophy of science.
His first book on the periodic table was awarded the Newby McCoy prize by the UCLA Chemistry Department and was a Choice Magazine best academic book of the year. His second book on this subject was also a Choice Magazine academic book of the year. His most recent book, “A Tale of Seven Elements” was named among the top 12 science books of the year 2013 by New Scientist magazine. In addition Scerri has published two books of his own collected research papers and has edited three further books on the philosophy of chemistry and the elements. His books have been translated into twelve languages, so far, and he is currently working on a new book about the rare earth elements.
Scerri has appeared on radio and television and frequently lectures in countries all round the world. He has published over 100 articles in professional journals as well as more popular magazines including Scientific American, American Scientist, New Scientist, Chemistry World etc.
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History and Philosophy of Chemistry including the question of the reduction of chemistry to quantum mechanics. Historical evolution of the periodic system and successive theoretical explanations for the periodic system. The philosophical nature of ‘elements’ including the elements as basic substances as simple substances (Lavoisier) and elements as basic substances (Mendeleev and later Paneth). The presentation of electronic structure and quantum mechanics in contemporary chemical education.
Honors & Awards
- UCLA McCoy-Newby Award
- Foundations of Chemistry Editor
- California Institute of Technology Postdoctoral Fellow
- London School of Economics (Department of Philosophy of Science) Postdoctoral Fellow