|Born||15 October 1833|
|Died||21 October 1886 (aged 53)|
|Academic advisors||Augustus De Morgan|
He was the son of Alexander Guthrie, a London tradesman, and the younger brother of mathematician Francis Guthrie. Along with William Fletcher Barrett he founded the Physical Society of London (now the Institute of Physics) in 1874 and was president of the society from 1884 till 1886. He believed that science should be based on experimentation rather than discussion.
His academic career started at University College, London, where he studied for three years. He studied chemistry under Thomas Graham and Alexander William Williamson and mathematics under Augustus De Morgan. In 1852, he submitted his brother Francis's observations to De Morgan.
Guthrie synthetized mustard gas in 1860 from ethylene and sulfur dichloride. Gutherie probably was not the first to synthetize mustard gas, but he was among the first to document its toxic effects. Gutherie did his mustard gas synthesis almost simultaneously as Albert Niemann, who also synthetized mustard gas and noted its toxic effects in his own experiments. Both Gutherie and Niemann published their findings in 1 January 1860.
Guthrie was later a professor at the Royal School of Mines in London, where he mentored the future experimental physicist C. V. Boys. He also mentored John Ambrose Fleming and was instrumental in turning his interest from chemistry to electricity.
He invented the thermionic diode 1873 (this was later given alternate credit to Edison's assistant W. J. Hammer).
Guthrie wrote the Elements of Heat in 1868 and Magnetism and Electricity in 1873 (published in 1876).
Guthrie was also a linguist, playwright, and poet. Under the name Frederick Cerny, he wrote the poems The Jew (1863) and Logrono (1877).
He was married four times.
His son Frederick Bickell Guthrie was an agricultural chemist.
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