By Peter Reed
Robert Angus Smith (1817-1884) was once a Scottish chemist and a number one investigator into what got here to be referred to as 'acid rain'. This learn of his operating lifestyles, contextualized via dialogue of his early life, schooling, ideals, family members, pursuits and affects sheds mild at the evolving knowing of sanitary technological know-how throughout the 19th century. Born in Glasgow and before everything expert for a profession within the Church of Scotland, Smith in its place went directly to learn chemistry in Germany below Justus von Liebig. On his go back to Manchester within the 1840s, Smith's robust Calvinist religion lead him to boost a robust quandary 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 function 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 identified. This examine of Smith's existence and paintings presents an enormous historical past to the best way that 'chemical' got here to have such adverse connotations within the century sooner than e-book 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 beneficial, and is key analyzing for historians of technological know-how, expertise and within the 19th century, in addition to environmental historians looking history context to the twentieth-century environmental events.
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Additional resources for Acid Rain and the Rise of the Environmental Chemist in Nineteenth-Century Britain
58 A crucial element of this model was the incorporation of some form of regulation into the parliamentary legislation so that its terms were enforceable. However, strict enforcement required ‘executive officers’, or inspectors, as they became more generally known, to monitor compliance with such regulations, and, in the event of non-compliance, they could seek financial penalties through the judicial system. Increasingly, legislation targeted different sectors of society, including factories, railways, mines, health and later various branches of manufacturing industry.
Thorpe, ‘Robert Angus Smith’, Nature, 30 (1884), p. 105. Schunck, ‘Angus Smith’, pp. 100–101. It was Edward Schunck who arranged for a 48 49 bronze bust to be sculpted by Thomas Nelson McLean (1845–1894) and presented to the MLPS. 50 Smith, To Iceland in a Yacht. 51 ‘Dr. Angus Smith, FRS’, The Biograph and Review, 5 and 6 (1879–81), p. 152, and ‘Dr. Angus Smith’, The Manchester Guardian, 13 May 1884. 20 Acid Rain and the Rise of the Environmental Chemist in Britain professional work, principally from the demands of his two government inspector posts.
After graduating from Giessen, these students took up influential positions in industry, consultancy work or teaching. This was the course taken by Angus Smith, who attended Giessen in 1841 and 1842. Instruction at the Royal College of Chemistry was directed by the Germanborn and -trained A. Wilhelm Hofmann, who had been a fellow student of Angus Smith at Giessen. It was while attending the London College that, in 1856, William Perkin discovered the first synthetic coal-tar dye, aniline purple, later known as mauve.
Acid Rain and the Rise of the Environmental Chemist in Nineteenth-Century Britain by Peter Reed