Edmund Ronalds

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Prof Edmund Ronalds FCS FRSE (1819–1889) was an English chemist.


He was born in 1819 in Canonbury Square in London, one of twelve children of Edmund Ronalds (1790-1874), a London cheesemonger, and his wife Eliza Anderson, daughter of James Anderson LL.D.[1] His paternal uncle was Sir Francis Ronalds. After leaving school, he studied successively at Giessen, where he graduated Ph.D., at Jena, Berlin, Heidelberg, and Paris.

In 1840 Ronalds returned to England, and held the lectureships in chemistry successively at St. Mary's Hospital and the Middlesex Hospital. In 1849 he was appointed professor of chemistry in the Queen's College, Galway. He was secretary of the Chemical Society from 1848 to 1850, and edited the first two volumes of its Quarterly Journal for 1849 and 1850.

Ronalds resigned his chair at Galway in 1856, in order to take over the Bonnington chemical works, where the by-products of Edinburgh's gas works were dealt with. In a letter to Sir Francis Ronalds he wrote in 1858 that he was ignored as "a tradesman" by the savants of Edinburgh.

In 1862 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh his proposer being Peter Guthrie Tait.[2]

In 1878 Ronalds retired from business, and set up a private research laboratory in Edinburgh. After suffering for some years from ill-health, he died at Bonnington House in Leith on 9 September 1889, leaving a widow and six children, including one named Mohamad.


The Royal Society's Catalogue listed four papers by Ronalds. He showed that sulphur and phosphorus in the human urine exist partly in a less oxidised state than as sulphate and phosphate (Philosophical Transactions, 1846, p. 461). In collaboration with Thomas Richardson, he translated and edited Friedrich Ludwig Knapp's Lehrbuch der chemischen Technologie, of which they published the first edition during 1848–51. A second edition was rewritten, so as to form a new work, but Ronalds collaborated only with respect to the first two parts, published in 1855.



 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Ronalds, Edmund". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.