Richard Chenevix (chemist)

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Richard Chenevix

Richard Chenevix FRS FRSE (ca. 1774 – 5 April 1830) was an Irish chemist.

Chenevix played a role in the discovery of the elemental nature of the metal palladium. Disbelieving this solid to be an element, in 1803 he published his opinion that it was a combination of mercury and platinum. This claim had, indirectly, the effect of spurring on others to examine the new metal, which is indeed an element.


He was born around 1774 in Dublin, the son of Colonel Chevenix.[1]

Chenevix was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1801 and was awarded its Copley Medal in 1803. In 1803 he was also elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.[2]

He resided in Paris from 1808. He married the Contesse de Rouault on 4 June 1812 at Marylebone Church.

Richard Chenevix died in Paris in 1830 and was buried at Père Lachaise Cemetery.

The mineral Chenevixite was named in his honor because of his earlier work analyzing copper ferrate arsenates.[3]


Further reading[edit]

  • Reilly, Desmond (1955). "Richard Chenevix (1774-1830) and the Discovery of Palladium". Journal of Chemical Education. 32: 37–39. doi:10.1021/ed032p37. 
  • Usselman, Melvyn C. (1978). "The Wollaston/Chenevix Controversy over the Elemental Nature of Palladium: A Curious Episode in the History of Chemistry". Annals of Science. 35 (6): 551–579. doi:10.1080/00033797800200431. 

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