Dr. John C. Powers

John Powers


Assistant to the Chair
Collateral Assistant Professor
Co-Director, Science, Technology, and Society Program (STS)

Ph.D., 2001, University of Indiana

811 S. Cathedral Pl, Room 205
(804) 828-9714

(STS) Milhiser House, 916 W. Franklin St.
(804) 828-1736






John Powers is a Collateral Assistant Professor in the Department of History, Virginia Commonwealth University. He holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University and a PhD in the History and Philosophy of Science from Indiana University. His research focuses on the history of chemistry and alchemy during the Scientific Revolution, natural philosophy and medicine in early modern universities, and the developmental of empirical and experimental methods in science.  His book Inventing Chemistry:  Herman Boerhaave and the Reform of the Chemical Arts was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2012. He has been the recipient of a National Science Foundation Scholar’s Award, and his other notable publications include:  “‘Ars sine arte:’ Nicholas Lemery and the End of Alchemy in Eighteenth-Century France,” Ambix, 45 (1998):  163-89 and  “Chemistry Enters the University:  Herman Boerhaave and the Reform of the Chemical Arts,” History of Universities, 25 (2006):  77-116.  He regularly teaches HIST 101 (the first half of the European history survey), as well as classes on revolutions in science, the history of epidemics, and a senior seminar on 'The Darwinian Revolution."