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This article is part of a planned series of blogs on journal history.

Physical chemistry and chemical physics are a precursor to and have always been a core component in materials research. Indeed, my first English-language research paper was published in PCCP back in 2015 when I was an undergrad. In this list, I collected articles that review the history of select physical chemistry and chemical physics journals, preferably the most recent ones published by their own editors or board members.

  • Zeitschrift für Physikalische Chemie, published by De Gruyter

    • The foundation of Z. Physik. Chem. (literally J. Phys. Chem. in English) signaled the establishment of physical chemistry as a discipline. It was founded in 1887 by Ostwald, van’t Hoff, and Arrhenius.
    • I have not found a dedicated article reviewing its history yet. Scattered information can often be found in materials briefing the foundation of physical chemistry and the journal.
  • The Journal of Physical Chemistry, published by ACS as JPC A, JPC B, JPC C, and JPC Letters

    • JPC was founded in 1896 as the first English-language journal in physical chemistry.
    • A very thorough revisit of the journal’s history by George Schatz celebrating the quasquicentennial of JPC:
      Schatz, G. C. 125th Anniversary of JPC: A Historical Perspective. J. Phys. Chem. C 2021125, 25927–25935. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpcc.1c09374
  • Journal of Chemical Physics, published by AIP

    • According to Levine’s Physical Chemistry textbook, “The Journal of Chemical Physics was founded in 1933 in reaction to the refusal of the editors of the Journal of Physical Chemistry to publish theoretical papers.”
    • Although no editorial article has been published on the journal’s history yet, there was a nice article in Annu. Rev. Phys. Chem. revisiting the first 50 years of JCP:
      Stout, J. W. The Journal of Chemical Physics: The First 50 Years. Annu. Rev. Phys. Chem. 1986, 37, 1–24. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.pc.37.100186.000245
  • Faraday Discussions, published by RSC

    • Faraday Discussions is a conference series on physical chemistry primarily held in the UK. It originated in 1907 in the Faraday Society, with discussion records (papers) published in the Transactions of the Faraday Society since 1905 which then spun off as a dedicated publication in 1947 (the research journal part became the Faraday Transactions).
    • A special editorial article was published for the 300th Faraday Discussion in 2019:
      Weatherby, S.; Seddon, J.; Vallance, C. The 300th Faraday Discussion. Faraday Discuss. 2019, 214, 9–12. https://doi.org/10.1039/C9FD90015B
  • Chemical Physics Letters, Published by Elsevier

    • Founded by the North-Holland Publishing Company in 1967 before it merged into Elsevier, CPL was created mostly as a Europe-based journal but quickly expanded its author- and readership internationally.
    • An article revisiting the 50 years of history of CPL with a particularly interesting comment at the end on the journals’ disappointing Journal Impact Factor (it fell below 2 from 2013 to 2018) in competition with other journals:
      Buckingham, A. D. Fifty Years of Chemical Physics Letters. Chem. Phys. Lett. 2017, 684, 443–445. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cplett.2017.02.061
  • Journal of Physical and Chemical Reference Data, published by AIP

    • The JPCRD has been a critical, if not the primary source of physical chemistry reference data since its foundation in 1972 by the National Bureau of Standards, the predecessor of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
    • Two brief editorials by the current and founding editors were accompanied by a series of review articles celebrating JPCRD’s 50th anniversary:
      Harvey, A. H.; Burgess, D. R., Jr. Fifty Years of Reference Data. J. Phys. Chem. Ref. Data 2021, 50, 010401. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0040316
      Lide, D. R. Fifty Years of the Journal of Physical and Chemical Reference Data. J. Phys. Chem. Ref. Data 2021, 50, 010402. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0038318
  • Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, Published by RSC

    • PCCP was established in 1998 by four chemistry societies in Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, and the UK. Now it is jointly owned by 18 societies. The foundation was a result of the merger of mainly Journal of the Chemical Society, Faraday Transactions and Berichte der Bunsengesellschaft für physikalische Chemie with a number of other physical chemistry journals from the participating European societies.
    • The journal’s ancestry dates back to the Transactions of the Faraday Society published since 1905 by the Faraday Society in the UK. In 1972, it merged with the Chemical Society’s existing titles and became the Journal of the Chemical Society, Faraday Transactions.
    • Of all the Journal of the Chemical Society legacies, the brands of Chemical Communications and Dalton Transactions still survive. Faraday Transactions became PCCP, and Perkin Transactions became Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry.
    • An editorial article celebrating the 10th anniversary of PCCP:
      Weckhuysen, B.; Earis, P. A decade of success. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2008, 10, 15–19. https://doi.org/doi:10.1039/b717640f.