Chemistry, then at the height of its fashion, suddenly seemed relevant
to all aspects of daily life. As one journalist wrote in 1820,
chemistry was “intimately connected with that ent...
在那个时代，化学俨然是一种非常时髦的玩意儿，和日常生活的方方面面都息息相关。1820年，一位记者曾这样写道：将探索自然物质的热情与值得称赞的愿望紧密联系在一起，是我们这个时代的特征……化学已经成为这个时代的首要科学Chemistry, then at the height of its fashion, suddenly seemed relevantto all aspects of daily life. As one journalist wrote in 1820,chemistry was “intimately connected with that enthusiasm and laudabledesire for exploring the productions of nature, which characterizethe age in which we live . . . chemistry within our own timeshas become a central science.”
化学这门新学科，之所以能享有如此的威望，很大一部分要归功于阿库姆的《论掺假》。阿库姆在书中明确指出，化学是打击掺假的唯一途径。可悲的是，化学本应该用来帮助那些“有益的生活目标”，但却被“扭曲成主张邪恶贸易的工具”一方面，许多”大量生产化学品的化学家们“明知道烘焙店在制作面包时会掺入明矾结晶，他们依然大规模的提取；另一方面，化学是一种”快乐的科学“，它也可以变成一种”检测掺假的手段“Accum’s Treatise on Adulteration was very much part of this newlyprestigious chemistry; he saw clearly that chemical science was boththe source of much adulteration and the only way of combating thegrowing use of adulteration. How “lamentable” it was, he thought,that chemistry, which ought to serve the “useful purposes of life”had been “perverted into an auxiliary of this nefarious traffi c.” Many“wholesale manufacturing chemists” occupied themselves in crystallizingalum, knowing full well that it would be used by bakers tofalsify bread. On the other hand, “happily for the science,” chemistrycould also be “converted into a means of detecting the abuse.”31 Asa later chemist wrote, analytical chemistry had the power to be “thegreat enemy of adulteration.”32 Before 1820, if you wanted to fi ndout whether a certain food was pure or not, you would most likelyuse your eyes, nose, and tongue. If milk tasted thin and looked bluish,you might surmise it had been watered down. If coff ee was toobitter, you might guess it had been tainted with chicory. If lemonadetasted too acidic and was sold too cheap, it wouldn’t take a genius tofi gure out that it had been made with tartaric acid instead of lemons.Th is sort of common-sense testing of food is probably the methodmost employed even now to judge the quality of food. It is calledthe “organoleptic” approach, and so long as the food being judgedis fairly natural and simple, it can work quite well. If you comparedtwo eggs, one of inferior quality and one spanking fresh from somewell-looked-aft er hens, you would know at once which was the goodone—all your senses would tell you that the egg whose yolk wasrich, orange, and fl avourful was better than the anaemic one...