On Nov. 17 and 18 the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) and the Hagley Museum and Library will sponsor the conference, “The Life of New Materials.” Conference sessions will explore the ways in which the development, use, and re-use of new materials is an embedded feature of our industrial society. The conference takes the biographies of new materials as its theme: their use cycle, place in supply chains, or features as material culture; and corresponding, their impact – anticipated or not – on subsequent innovations. Papers range from showing the popularity of using materials derived from food for non-food products to how the development of fiberglass affected guitars and new paints affected art. Several authors look at the process through which the newly-popular metal aluminum became material both for art and for packaging. Other papers look at the creation and then reuse of prosaic materials ranging from the Post-it notes to concrete blocks, and how strategy and innovation affected the use of new inventions, including liquid crystals and Bakelite plastic. Finally the conference also addresses new materials that failed, most dramatically in soaps and tampons, but also in electronic manufacturing. The presenters include both senior scholars and graduate students, and come from Japan, France, England, Belgium, and all over the United States.
Sessions on Thursday Nov. 17 will take place at the CHF in Philadelphia beginning at 1 p.m., and Friday sessions will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Hagley in Wilmington, Delaware. For a full program, registration, and other information please go to http://www.hagley.org/library/center/conferences.html or contact Carol Lockman,
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