Volume LIII 1 - 2019
'Made in Europe for the World': Making a Claim for a European Chemistry in Publication Programs. The Case of the Supramolecular Chemistry (1987-2005)
Marianne Noël, pp. 141-180
The University of Strasbourg is the birthplace of a research specialty (supramolecular chemistry or SMC) which has grown considerably in the last 40 years and has had a significant scientific impact. The emergence of SMC was orchestrated to a large extent by Nobel laureate Jean-Marie Lehn, but a network of scientists, as well as the University and the Alsace Region, were also key players in this regard. Lehn was instrumental in the creation of a series of European chemistry journals in the late 1990s, whose genealogy I trace. My purpose is to examine the conditions of the success of a case of European integration that is not a major technological program but simply a “publication infrastructure”. Based on an historical analysis completed with a fieldwork study, I argue that the circulation and appropriation of concepts and languages of the SMC were central in the development of a European “publication program”. I show that this program created a sense of Europeanness that was also shaped in relation to the extra-European world, both in opposition (standing against the USA) and yet open to the world, as illustrated in the motto “Made in Europe for the world”.