By Peter Reed
Robert Angus Smith (1817-1884) used to be a Scottish chemist and a number one investigator into what got here to be often called 'acid rain'. This learn of his operating lifestyles, contextualized via dialogue of his adolescence, schooling, ideals, relatives, pursuits and affects sheds mild at the evolving realizing of sanitary technology throughout the 19th century. Born in Glasgow and before everything knowledgeable for a profession within the Church of Scotland, Smith in its place went directly to examine chemistry in Germany less than Justus von Liebig. On his go back to Manchester within the 1840s, Smith's powerful Calvinist religion lead him to increase a powerful challenge for the insanitary environmental stipulations in Manchester and different business cities in Britain. His appointment as Inspector of the Alkali management in 1863 enabled him to marry his social issues and his paintings as an analytical chemist, and this booklet explores his position as Inspector of the management from its inception via battles with chemical brands within the courts, to the fight to widen and tighten the regulatory framework as different destructive chemical nuisances grew to become recognized. This research of Smith's existence and paintings offers a massive heritage to the best way that 'chemical' got here to have such destructive connotations within the century prior to booklet of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. It additionally deals a desirable perception into the altering panorama of British politics as law and enforcement of the chemical industries got here to be visible as priceless, and is vital examining for historians of technology, know-how and within the 19th century, in addition to environmental historians looking historical past context to the twentieth-century environmental events.
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Extra info for Acid Rain and the Rise of the Environmental Chemist in Nineteenth-Century Britain
10 He received a PhD from Erlangen for this research on ‘The Relation of Mineral Chemistry to Plant Chemistry’ in 1823, and the following year he was appointed Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Giessen, which began an association with Giessen until his move to Munich in 1852. At Giessen, Liebig established his laboratory and the internationally renowned school of chemistry that attracted many aspiring young chemists from across the world. The unique training Liebig provided had two strands: developing understanding and knowledge of chemistry through a series of carefully structured practical laboratory exercises monitored by Liebig’s assistants, followed by undertaking a research project defined and mentored by Liebig that allowed the knowledge and understanding to be applied to make new discoveries.
Significantly, it was only later that consideration was given to any harmful effects on human health. Reforms often relied on an individual reformer or campaigner who would lead the way and agitate to ensure that the necessary changes and improvements were implemented for the benefit of society as a whole. Leaders in the campaigns included Lord Shaftesbury, Edwin Chadwick, John Simon and Richard Cobden. This was truly an Age of Reform. , p. 57. 59 Introduction 23 emigration (1833), Poor Law (1834), prisons (1836), tithe commutation (1836), education (1839), railways (1840), mines (1842), public health/local government (1848) and mercantile marine (1850).
For details of Playfair’s time studying with Liebig at Giessen, see Reid, Lyon Playfair, pp. 42–3. 9 Liebig was ennobled in 1845. 10 He received a PhD from Erlangen for this research on ‘The Relation of Mineral Chemistry to Plant Chemistry’ in 1823, and the following year he was appointed Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Giessen, which began an association with Giessen until his move to Munich in 1852. At Giessen, Liebig established his laboratory and the internationally renowned school of chemistry that attracted many aspiring young chemists from across the world.
Acid Rain and the Rise of the Environmental Chemist in Nineteenth-Century Britain by Peter Reed