|Born||3 November 1749
|Died||15 December 1819 (aged 70)
|Institutions||Physician in Edinburgh (1775-86)
Professor of Medicine and Botany, Edinburgh University, and Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh (1786-1819)
King's Botanist in Scotland (1786-)
Physician at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (1791)
|Alma mater||University of Edinburgh|
|Author abbrev. (botany)||Rutherf.|
Rutherford was the uncle of the novelist Sir Walter Scott; Rutherford was a well-known chemist, botanist and physician.
The son of Professor John Rutherford (1695–1779) and Anne Mackay, Daniel Rutherford was born in Edinburgh on 3 November 1749. He left home at the age of 16 to go to college. He was educated at Mundell's School and Edinburgh University (MD 1772).
Isolation of nitrogen
Black turned this problem over to his student at the time, Rutherford. Rutherford kept a mouse in a space with a confined quantity of air until it died. Then, he burned a candle in the remaining air until it went out. Afterwards, he burned phosphorus in that, until it would not burn. Then the air was passed through a carbon dioxide absorbing solution. The remaining oxygen did not support combustion, and a mouse could not live in it.
Rutherford called the gas (which we now know would have consisted primarily of nitrogen) “noxious air” or “phlogisticated air”. Rutherford reported the experiment in 1772. He and Black were convinced of the validity of the phlogiston theory, so they explained their results in terms of it.
- Waterston, Charles D.; Macmillan Shearer, A. (July 2006). Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783-2002: Biographical Index (PDF) II. Edinburgh: The Royal Society of Edinburgh. ISBN 978-0-902198-84-5. Retrieved 2011-02-08.
- Lavoisier, Antoine Laurent (1965). Elements of chemistry, in a new systematic order: containing all the modern discoveries. Courier Dover Publications. p. 15. ISBN 0-486-64624-6.
- "Author Query for 'Rutherf.'". International Plant Names Index.
- "Rutherford, Daniel". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- Biographical note at “Lectures and Papers of Professor Daniel Rutherford (1749–1819), and Diary of Mrs Harriet Rutherford”