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Udagawa Yōan (宇田川 榕菴, March 9, 1798 – June 22, 1846) was a 19th-century Japanese scholar of Western studies, or "Rangaku". In 1837, he published the first volume of his Introduction to Chemistry (舎密開宗 Seimi Kaisō)[a], a compilation of scientific books in Dutch, which describes a wide range of scientific knowledge from the West. Most of the Dutch original material appears to be derived from William Henry's 1799 Elements of Experimental Chemistry. In particular, the book contains a very detailed description of the electric battery invented by Volta forty years earlier in 1800. The battery itself was constructed by Udagawa in 1831 and used in experiments, including medical ones, based on a belief that electricity could help cure illnesses.
Udagawa's Science of Chemistry also reports for the first time in details the findings and theories of Lavoisier in Japan. Accordingly, Udagawa made numerous scientific experiments and created new scientific terms, which are still in current use in modern scientific Japanese: e.g., “oxygen” (酸素 sanso), “hydrogen” (水素 suiso), “nitrogen” (窒素 chisso), “carbon” (炭素 tanso), “oxidation” (酸化 sanka), “reduction” (還元 kangen), “saturation” (飽和 hōwa), “dissolution” (溶解 yōkai) and “element” (元素 genso).
A description of a Volta battery in Introduction to Chemistry (Seimi Kaisō), published in 1840.
- The last volume was published in 1847, after his death.
- Okuno, Hisateru (1980). 江戸の化学 (玉川選書) (in Japanese). Tamagawa University Press. p. 54-67. ISBN 978-4472152115.
- "宇田川榕庵(うだがわようあん)とはーコトバンク" (in Japanese). kotobank. Retrieved 2017-08-10.
- "舎密開宗(せいみかいそう)とはーコトバンク" (in Japanese). kotobank. Retrieved 2017-08-10.
- Toda, Ichiro (2008). "蘭学者たちの遺してくれたもの". Buturi Kyoiku(物理教育) (in Japanese). Physics Education Society of Japan. 56 (4): 258–261. doi:10.20653/pesj.56.4_258.
- Tsukahara, Togo (1998). "化学と能吏:驚異のマルチ人間宇田川榕菴の謎にせまる (特集 大江戸化学事情(日本の化学の先駆者宇田川榕菴とその時代:生誕200年によせて))" (PDF). Kagaku(化学) (in Japanese). KAGAKUDOJIN(化学同人). 53 (10): 14–20.
- Tatsumi, Hirosuke (2010). "談話室電気化学の夜明け". Review of Polarography (in Japanese). The Polarographic Society of Japan. 46 (1): 3–7. doi:10.5189/revpolarography.46.3.
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