Formed by the merger of the Chemical Heritage Foundation and the Life Sciences Foundation, the Science History Institute has been led by several distinguished presidents.
Our mission is to encourage study and foster dialogue on the history of science and technology. We look at the history and impact on society of chemistry, engineering, and life sciences through the scholarly development, curation, and use of collections.
Founding president Arnold Thackray set the Chemical Heritage Foundation on an ambitious course. He moved the fledgling organization from two basement rooms on the University of Pennsylvania campus to the heart of Old City, Philadelphia, and shaped it into a premier institution preserving the history of chemistry, chemical engineering, and the life sciences.
Thomas R. Tritton took the helm in 2007, guiding CHF with a steady hand through the worst economic downturn since the 1930s and leading it to renewed economic health. Under his leadership CHF also greatly increased public programs and outreach.
In 2013 Carsten Reinhardt became CHF’s third president. He was an Edelstein Fellow at CHF in 1998–1999, and so he was intimately familiar with the organization’s valuable offerings. As a current professor of the history of science at Bielefeld University, Germany, Reinhardt has extensively researched and published on the impact of chemistry on society through topics including the history of industrial research, the emergence of instrumentation, and chemistry’s links to physics, biology, medicine, and technology.
In January 2017 Robert G. W. Anderson, former director of the British Museum and a member of our Board of Directors, became president and CEO. He guided CHF’s transformation into the Science History Institute in February 2018.