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 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.
His final position was as the Master of the Mint, where he stayed for 15 years until his death. He was the last person to hold that position.
Thomas Graham is best known for two things:
- His studies on the diffusion of gases resulted in "Graham's Law", which states that the rate of effusion of a gas is inversely proportional to the square root of its molar mass.
- His discovery of dialysis, which is used in many medical facilities today, was the result of Graham's study of colloids. This work resulted in Graham's ability to separate colloids and crystalloids using a so-called "dialyzer", the precursor of today's dialysis machine. This study initiated the scientific field known as colloid chemistry, of which Graham is credited as the 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.
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Thomas Graham (chemist).|
- 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