John Kidd (chemist)

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John Kidd
Portrait of John Kidd. Wellcome M0012529.jpg
Born10 September 1775
Died7 September 1851(1851-09-07) (aged 75)
Scientific career

John Kidd (10 September 1775 – 7 September 1851) was an English physician, chemist and geologist. Kidd was born in Westminster, the son of a naval officer and was educated at Christ Church, Oxford.


He became reader in chemistry at Oxford in 1801, and in 1803 was elected the first Aldrichian professor[1] of chemistry. He then voluntarily gave courses of lectures on mineralogy and geology: these were delivered in the dark chambers under the Ashmolean Museum, and there William Conybeare, William Buckland, Charles Daubeny and others gained their first lessons in geology. Kidd was a popular and instructive lecturer, and through his efforts the geological chair, first held by Buckland, was established.

The first of the scriptural geologists, "Kidd argued in his book A Geological Essay on the Imperfect Evidences in Support of a Theory of the Earth, on philosophical grounds, that a science of observation cannot claim certainty for its inferences as to causes, and that consequently theoretical geology cannot stand against an indisputable authority such as revelation."[2] In 1818 he became a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians; in 1822 regius professor of medicine in succession to Sir Christopher Pegge; and in 1834 he was appointed keeper of the Radcliffe Library.

In March 1822 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.[3] He delivered the Harveian Oration before the Royal College of Physicians in 1836.


  • Outlines of Mineralogy (1809)
  • A Geological Essay on the Imperfect Evidence in Support of a Theory of the Earth (1815)#
  • The second Bridgewater Treatise: On the Adaptation of External Nature to the Physical Condition of Man (1833).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Aldrich chair of Chemistry was founded with an endowment given to the University in 1798 by George Aldrich, whose name adopted (Cf: Robert J P Williams, John S Rowlinson, Allan Chapman (edts.), Chemistry at Oxford: a history from 1600 to 2005, pp. 79-81, London: Royal Society of Chemistry, 2008 (ISBN 0854041397)).
  2. ^ Millhauser, Milton, [1954] The Scriptural Geologists: An Episode in the History of Opinion, Osiris, Vol. 11,The University of Chicago Press, p. 70
  3. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 21 January 2011.[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]