Herbert Brereton Baker

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Herbert Brereton Baker, CBE, FRS[1] (25 June 1862 – 27 April 1935) was a British inorganic chemist.

He was born in Blackburn, Lancashire, the second son of the Reverend John Baker, vicar of St Johns, Livesey, and Caroline Baker. He was educated locally and at Manchester Grammar School. He secured a scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford, where he was awarded an MA.

He started his career as a schoolmaster at Dulwich College then moved back to Oxford as a Reader in chemistry and was later appointed Professor at Imperial College, London.[2]

He conducted pioneering studies on the effects of drying on chemicals and the catalytic effect of moisture in chemical reactions. According to his 1902 FRS application citation he proved that "dry carbon and phosphorus will not inflame when heated in dry oxygen; that dry ammonia and hydrogen chloride when mixed do not unite, and that dry ammonium chloride and calomel respectively vaporise without dissociation... [and that] dry hydrogen and oxygen mixed together are not ignited by exposure to the temperature of melting silver".[3]

In June, 1902, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society[4][1] and in 1923 was awarded their Davy Medal "For his researches on the complete drying of gases and liquids".[5]

He was made CBE in 1917.

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