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Henry Enfield Roscoe

Sir Henry Enfield Roscoe FRS (January 7, 1833 - December 18, 1915) was an English chemist, born in London.

After studying at the Liverpool Institute for Boys and University College London, he went to Heidelberg to work under Robert Bunsen, who became a lifelong friend. In 1857, he was appointed to the chair of chemistry at Owens College, Manchester, where he remained for thirty years, and from 1885 to 1895 he was MP for Manchester South. He served on several royal commissions appointed to consider educational questions, in which he was keenly interested, and from 1896 to 1902 was vice-chancellor of the University of London. He was knighted in 1884.

His scientific work includes a memorable series of researches carried out with Bunsen between 1855 and 1862, in which they laid the foundations of comparative photochemistry. In 1867, he began an elaborate investigation of vanadium and its compounds, and devised a process for preparing it pure in the metallic state, at the same time showing that the substance which had previously passed for the metal was contaminated with oxygen and nitrogen. He was also the author of researches on niobium, tungsten, uranium, perchloric acid, the solubility of ammonia, etc.

Roscoe's publications include, besides several elementary books on chemistry that had a wide circulation and were translated into many foreign languages, Lectures on Spectrum Analysis (1869); a Treatise on Chemistry (the first edition of which appeared in 1877-1892); A New View of Daltons Atomic Theory, with Dr Arthur Harden (1896); and an Autobiography (1906). The Treatise on Chemistry, written in collaboration with Carl Schorlemmer (1834-1892), who was appointed his private assistant at Manchester in 1859, official assistant in the laboratory in 1861, and professor of organic chemistry in 1874, was long regarded as a standard work. Roscoe's Lessons in Elementary Chemistry (1866) passed through many editions in England and abroad.

He was the uncle of Beatrix Potter. The mineral Roscoelite was named after him, due to its vanadium content.

Selected works

  • Roscoe, Henry (1876). Chemistry. New York: Appleton. 
  • Roscoe, Henry (1878). Spectrum Analysis. London: Macmillan. 
  • Roscoe, Henry (1895). John Dalton and the Rise of Modern Chemistry. New York: Macmillan. 
  • Roscoe, Henry (1907). The Life and Experiences of Sir Henry Enfield Roscoe. London: Macmillan. 
  • This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Henry_Enfield_Roscoe". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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