Download e-book for kindle: Acid Rain and the Rise of the Environmental Chemist in by Peter Reed

By Peter Reed

ISBN-10: 1409457753

ISBN-13: 9781409457756

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, kinfolk, pursuits and affects sheds mild at the evolving realizing of sanitary technological know-how in the course of the 19th century. Born in Glasgow and first and foremost knowledgeable for a profession within the Church of Scotland, Smith as a substitute went directly to learn 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 enhance a powerful predicament for the insanitary environmental stipulations in Manchester and different commercial cities in Britain. His appointment as Inspector of the Alkali management in 1863 enabled him to marry his social matters and his paintings as an analytical chemist, and this publication 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 turned identified. This learn of Smith's existence and paintings presents an immense heritage to the best way that 'chemical' got here to have such unfavorable connotations within the century prior to e-book of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. It additionally deals a desirable perception into the altering panorama of British politics as legislation and enforcement of the chemical industries got here to be noticeable as worthwhile, and is key interpreting for historians of technology, expertise and within the 19th century, in addition to environmental historians looking historical past context to the twentieth-century environmental routine.

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At the meeting Playfair not only delivered Liebig’s talk on poisons and spoke about his own work on fatty acids, but developed professional friendships that were to influence his future standing in British science and, more importantly at the time, help him gain employment in the calico-printing industry in Clitheroe, Lancashire, as I shall discuss later in this chapter.

56 Robert Angus Smith’s legacy is discussed in Chapter 8. 52 Letter from Robert Angus Smith at Matlock Bath, Derbyshire to the Secretary of the Local Government Board, dated 13 January 1884. NA: (Ref: MH16/2). 53 Ibid. 54 His personal estate was valued at £1,953 15s 4d (£1953 77p). 55 ‘The Late Dr. Angus Smith’, The Manchester Guardian, 17 May 1884. 56 The headstone marking Robert Angus Smith’s grave remains to the present day. 57 Although a small section of society reaped major benefits from these changes, the majority were left facing great hardships, embracing health, housing, provision of food, as well as exposure to dangers inherent in the profusion of new steam-powered technology.

Michael Faraday, Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Institution of Great Britain in London, and one of the outstanding experimental scientists of the time, was President of the chemistry section. The section had invited Liebig to participate in the Liverpool meeting because of his interest in organic chemistry (then a developing field of enquiry). Liebig had prepared a paper on ‘On the decomposition products of uric acid’, but because his English was poor, Faraday read it. Because of the impact of his paper and his convivial disposition, Liebig became ‘the lion of the evening’ and was much sought after by delegates for his expert views.

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Acid Rain and the Rise of the Environmental Chemist in Nineteenth-Century Britain by Peter Reed


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