|Publishing house||Instytut Historii Nauki im. Ludwika i Aleksandra Birkenmajerów Polskiej Akademii Nauk|
|Place of publication||Warszawa|
Europejskie inspiracje…, written by one of the best contemporary historians of chemistry in Poland Stefan Zamecki, is a first monograph dedicated to the work and life of Ignacy Fonberg (born on 20 January 1801 in Bielsk Podlaski, died in October 1891 in Kiev). Fonberg was a professor of chemistry at the University of Vilnius (1822–32), then at the Medico-Surgical Academy in that city (1832–40), and later at the St. Vladimir University of Kiev (1840-59). He was a student of one of the most eminent Polish naturalists in the first half of the 19th century, Jędrzej Śniadecki (1768-1838). Proliferous author in his youth, after moving to Kiev Fonberg published very little, devoting himself primarily to pedagogical and organizational work. In total, he authored around 35 publications.
Zamecki discusses the content of most of Fonberg's books and articles, what makes the book under review rather of analytical character. Many extensive quotations from Fonberg's publications constitute the strongest advantages of this work. Zamecki searched for documents concerning Fonberg in manifold archives, both in Poland and abroad, using also previously unused materials, like the ones from the archives in Kiev.
This book consists of a foreword, seven chapters, afterword, one appendix (concerning the metals of platinum group, Zamecki discussed in this text, i.a., the issue of the possible discovery of ruthenium by Śniadecki ), English summary, bibliography and the index of names. It is published in the series: „Monografie z dziejów nauki i techniki" [„The Monographs from the History of Science and Technology", vol. 165], edited by Zamecki himself.
In the first chapter, Zamecki presents a short biography of Fonberg. In the second – his first scientific publications (1821-23) – a treaty on acids, and on his own variant of the theory of combustion; in the third – his chemical dictionaries and works on the chemical nomenclature; the fourth chapter is devoted to three first Polish chemistry handbooks (by Jakób Reinhold Spielmann, Jędrzej Śniadecki, Alexander Chodkiewicz). The fifth chapter discusses the handbooks by Fonberg, especially his opus magnum: Chemiia z zastosowaniem do sztuk i rzemiosł (Chemistry with Application to Arts and Crafts, 3. vols., Vilnius 1827-29) is discussed in detail (p. 123–218). Zamecki discusses among others the physical as well as chemical properties of all chemical elements known at that time, as they were characterized by Fonberg. In the sixth chapter Fonberg's analytical research is presented, concerning the analysis of the content of water (from Szczawnica, Druskininkai and Kiev), and some problems of physiological chemistry. It is worth mentioning that – allegedly – Fonberg was the first person ever to note the presence of sugar in blood of diabetics . In the seventh, last chapter, his other, later papers, relatively less important, are presented, mostly review articles (and an inventory of the Division of Chemistry at the former University of Vilnius).
Zamecki used the phrase: European Inspirations in the title in order to emphasize the fact that many ideas of Fonberg were in one way or the other influenced by eminent European scientists. These included, among others: Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier (1743-1794), Jöns Jacob Berzelius (1770-1848) – who was one of the most respected scientific authorities in the first half of the 19th century , John Dalton (1766–1844), Claude Louis Berthollet (1748–1822), Humpry Bartholomew Davy (1778–1829), and by many others. The first half of the 19th century was an „analytical" period in the history of chemistry. Analyses (quantitative and qualitative) of chemical compounds were often carried out very accurately. It is therefore quite understandable that Fonberg was also deeply engaged in research related to chemical analysis. Nevertheless, theories of chemical structure at that time – for example electrochemical dualism proposed by Berzelius  – were rather based on deliberations and imaginations than on accurate experimental work. Fonberg rather avoided such speculations, seeing them as not based on experiments.
In the afterword, Zamecki presents his quite pessimistic view on the future of the history of chemistry in Poland. He claims that there will not be easy to find scholars who can become professional historians of chemistry in this country. According to him, there are two main reasons for it: the lack of ideological motivation for this kind of scholarly activity, and the notorious underfunding of such research. He also mentioned, that the first one is caused, i.a., by the second one (p. 252).
Europejskie inspiracje… is a carefully and elegantly edited work. It should be of interest not only to historians of science but also to professional chemists and students of chemistry but. The author's erudition and his elegant yet simple and clear style make the book a pleasure to read and will make it attractive to general readers who want to learn about the history of science.
 Śniadecki claimed he had discovered an element that he called vestium (west in Polish). Rosprawa o nowym metallu w surowey platynie… (An Account on a New Metal [contained – M.D.] in Raw Platinum). An offprint, 27 pages, Vilna 1808. His claim has not been confirmed.
 According to other eminent Polish historian of chemistry, Ignacy Z. Siemion (Wilno chemiczne do połowy XIX stulecia [The Chemical Vilna till the [First – M.D] Half of the 19th Century] (Warszawa: Retro-Art 2009, p. 163).See: Ignacy Fonberg, „Beobachtungen über den Harn und das Blut diabetischer Kranken", Liebigs Annalen der Chemie und Pharmacie 63, 1847, 360–70.
 J.R. Partington, A Short History of Chemistry (Courier Corporation: New York, 1960), p. 195.
 The basic idea of Berzelius was very simple, namely he claimed that all molecules are composed of negatively and positively charged fragments, kept in electrostatic equilibrium. See for example: Halina Lichocka: Historia poszukiwania leku w roślinach w Polsce 1800–1856 [The History of Searching Medicines in Plants in Poland 1800-1856] (Warszawa: Instytut Historii Nauki Polskiej Akademii Nauk, 2002), 177–206.