Thomas Graham (chemist)
Thomas Graham in 1856
21 December 1805|
|Died||16 September 1869(aged 63)|
|Institutions||Royal College of Science and Technology
University College London
|Known for||Graham's Law
|Notable awards||Royal Medal (1838, 1850)
Copley Medal (1862)
Life and work
Graham was born in Glasgow, Scotland. Graham's father was a successful textile manufacturer, and wanted his son to enter into the Church of Scotland. Instead, defying his father's wishes, Graham became a student at the University of Glasgow in 1819. There he developed a strong interest in chemistry, and left the University after receiving his M.A. in 1826. He later studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh and then briefly taught chemistry at the Portland Street Medical School and at the Glasgow Mechanics' Institution. He later became a professor of chemistry at numerous colleges, including the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow (appointed 1830 as the Freeland Chair of Chemistry), the Royal College of Science and Technology and the University of London.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (July 2015)|
|This section requires expansion with: further information, based on verifiable sources, elaborating on Graham's laws, and extending the information on Graham's contributions. (July 2015)|
Thomas Graham is known for his studies on the behaviour of gases, which resulted in his formulation of two relationships, both since becoming known as "Graham's Laws," the first regarding gas diffusion, and the second regarding gas effusion. In the former case, Graham deduced that when measured repeatedly under the same conditions of pressure and temperature, the rate of diffusive mixing of a gas is inversely proportional to the square root of its density, and given the relationship between density and molar mass, also inversely proportional to the square root of its molar mass.[clarification needed][dubious ] In the same way, in the latter case, regarding effusion of a gas through a pin hole into a vacuum, Graham deduced that the rate of effusion of a gas is inversely proportional to the square root of its molar mass. These two are sometimes referred to as a combined law (describing both phenomena).
In applied areas, Graham also made fundamental discoveries related to dialysis, a process used in research and industrial settings, as well as in modern health care. Graham's study of colloids resulted in his ability to separate colloids and crystalloids using a so-called "dialyzer", using technology that is a rudimentary forerunner of technology in modern kidney dialysis machines. These studies the were foundational in the field known as colloid chemistry, and Graham is credited as its founder.
Honours, activities, and recognition
- Fellow of the Royal Society (1836)
- First President of the Chemical Society of London (1841)
- Royal Medal of the Royal Society (1837 and 1863)
- Copley Medal of the Royal Society (1862)
- Prix Jecker of the Paris Academy of Sciences (1862)
- (Unofficial Honour) Statue of Graham by William Brodie (sculptor)in Glasgow ("given" in 1872)
- The University of Strathclyde, where Graham worked at one of its precursor institutions, has named the building housing the chemistry department after him.
- The headquarters of the Royal Society of Chemistry in Cambridge, UK is named Thomas Graham House.
- Pallab Ghosh (2009). Colloid and Interface Science. PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd. pp. 1–. ISBN 978-81-203-3857-9.
- E. L. Cussler (15 January 2009). Diffusion: Mass Transfer in Fluid Systems. Cambridge University Press. pp. 13–. ISBN 978-0-521-87121-1.
- James S. Trefil (2003). The Nature of Science: An A-Z Guide to the Laws and Principles Governing Our Universe. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 187–. ISBN 0-618-31938-7.
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- Graham, Thomas (1833). "Researches on the Arseniates, Phosphates, and Modifications of Phosphoric Acid". Philosophical Transactions (The Alembic club) 123: 253–284. doi:10.1098/rstl.1833.0015. Retrieved 2008-03-20.
- Obituary from Nature by A. W. Williamson
Sir John Herschel, Bt
|Master of the Mint