This is not a history of chemistry which uses stamps instead of the usual illustrations, but a collection of short essays and comments on such chemistry as can be found on postage stamps and other philatelic items. In other words, the choice of topics is dictated by the philatelic material available, with the necessary consequence that important parts of chemical history will be missing for the simple reason that they have not found their way onto postage stamps. Thus, the reader may find detailed comments on lesser known chemists, such as Wilhelm August Lampadius who has been honoured with two stamps by the German Post Office, but hardly anything on such luminaries as Robert Bunsen, who have not been deemed worthy of a commemorative issue.
EDGAR HEILBRONNER was born in Munich, Bavaria in 1921, and moved to Geneva, Switzerland, in 1935. After studying chemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, he held a Rockefeller research fellowship at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He returned to the ETH, where he became Professor of Theoretical Organic Chemistry in 1964. In 1968 he moved to Basel, to assume the directorship on the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the University of Basel, a post he held until his retirement in 1988. He has been a Visiting Professor at several universities and is the author of nearly 350 scientific papers, in addition to the book The HMO Model and Its Application (together with Hans Bock). He was awarded the Marcel Benoist Prize by the Swiss Confederation, the August Wilhelm von Hoffman Medal by the German Chemical Society, and the Heyrovsky Medal by the Czechoslovak Academy of Science. He has held several endowed lectureships, such as the Baker Lecture Series at the Ben Gurion University. He is member of several learned societies, including the Gottingen Academy of Science and The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. FOIL ALLAN MILLER was born in Aurora, Illinois, but was raised in Pepin, Wisconsin, a small village on the banks of the Mississippi River. His undergraduate work was done at Hamline University in St. Paul and his Ph.D. is from John's Hopkins University. After a National Research Council Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Minnesota, he taught for four years at the University of Illinois. He went to Pittsburgh in 1948 to join the staff of Mellon Institute as Head of its Spectroscopy Division and later became Senior Fellow in Independent Research there. In 1967, he moved to the University of Pittsburgh as University Professor in Chemistry and Head of the Spectroscopy Laboratory, where he remained until his retirement in 1981. His research, primarily in infrared and Raman spectroscopy, has been described in about 100 publications. He has been an editor of Spectrochimica Acta and secretary of the IUPAC Commission on Molecular Structure and Spectroscopy. In 1957, he held a Guggenheim Fellowship for study in Zurich. He was a Visiting Professor in Japan in 1977 and in Brazil in 1980. Since 1950, he has helped present the annual Bowdoin College summer courses on applied infrared spectroscopy. He received the 1964 Pittsburgh Award of the American Chemical Society and in 1973 Hasler Award of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy. Collecting postage stamps that deal with chemistry and physics is a special interest, and has authored over fifty articles on this subject.