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Pure Intelligence

Author: Melvyn C. Usselman
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022624573X
Size: 14.32 MB
Format: PDF, Mobi
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William Hyde Wollaston was born into a large, religious, and scientifically informed family in 1766 and died sixty-two years later as one of the Western world s most highly regarded scientists. With encouragement from his well-connected father, he studied medicine at Cambridge, and began practicing as a physician in the provinces before moving his practice to London in 1797, arriving in the capital about the same time as his illustrious colleagues Humphry Davy and Thomas Young. After a few years in London, Wollaston abandoned the vocation he had come to dislike and bravely set out to make his living as a chemical entrepreneur, while pursuing his intellectual interests in a wide range of contemporary scientific subjects. He, Davy, and Young were to become Britain s leading scientific practitioners in the first third of the nineteenth century, and their deaths within a six month time span were seen by many as the end of a glorious period of British supremacy in science. In contrast to his two more famous colleagues, Wollaston s life was not recorded for posterity in a contemporary biography, and his many remarkable scientific, commercial, instrumental, and institutional achievements have fallen into obscurity as a result. This biography is the first book-length study of Wollaston, his science, and the environment in which he thrived."