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John William Draper
John William Draper (May 5, 1811, – January 4, 1882) was an American (English-born) scientist, philosopher, physician, chemist, historian, and photographer.
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John William Draper was born May 5, 1811 in St. Helens, Merseyside, England to John Christopher Draper, a Wesleyan clergyman and Sarah (Ripley) Draper. On June 23, he was baptized by the Wesleyan minister Jabez Bunting. He had three sisters, Dorothy Catherine, Elizabeth Johnson, and Sarah Ripley. The family moved often to different churches throughout England. John William was home tutored until 1822, when he entered Woodhouse Grove. He returned to home instruction (1826) prior to entering University College London in 1829.
On September 13, 1831, John William married Antonia Coetana de Paiva Pereira Gardner, the daughter of Daniel Gardner, a court physician to John VI of Portugal and Charlotte of Spain. Antonia was born (c. 1814) in Brazil after the royal family fled Portugal with Napoleon's invasion. There is dispute as to the identity of Antonia's mother. Around 1830, she was sent with her brother Daniel to live with their aunt in London.
Relatives of John William's mother urged her, now a widow, to move with her children to Virginia. Additionally, this came with the prospect of a teaching position for John William at a local Methodist college.
In 1832, the family settled in Mecklenburg County, Virginia six miles (10 km) from Christiansville (now Chase City). John William established a laboratory in Christiansville, where he conducted experiments and published eight papers before entering medical school. His sister, Dorothy Catherine Draper provided finances for his medical education at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in March 1836. That same year, he began teaching at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia.
In 1837, he took an appointment at New York University; he was elected professor of chemistry and botany the next year. He was a professor in its school of medicine from 1840 to 1850, president of that school from 1850 to 1873, and professor of chemistry until 1881. He was a founder of the New York University Medical School.
He did important research in photochemistry, made portrait photography possible by his improvements (1839) on Daguerre's process, and published a textbook on Chemistry (1846), textbook on Natural Philosophy (1847), textbook on Physiology (1866), and Scientific Memoirs (1878) on radiant energy. He was also the first person to take an astrophotograph; he took the first photo of the Moon which showed any lunar features in 1840. Then in 1843 he made daguerreotypes which showed new features on the moon in the visible spectrum. In 1850 he was making photo-micrographs and engaged his then teenage son, Henry, into their production.
He developed the proposition in 1842 that only light rays that are absorbed can produce chemical change. It came to be known as the Grotthuss-Draper law when his name was teamed with a prior but apparently unknown promulgator Theodor Grotthuss of the same idea in 1817.
Contributions to the discipline of history: He is well known also as the author of The History of the Intellectual Development of Europe (1862), applying the methods of physical science to history, a History of the American Civil War (3 vols., 1867-1870), and a History of the Conflict between Religion and Science (1874). The last book listed is among the most influential works on the conflict thesis, which takes its name from Draper's title.
He died on January 4, 1882 at his home in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York at the age of 70. The funeral was held at St Mark's Church in-the-Bowery in New York City. He was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.
In 1976, New York University founded the John W. Draper Interdisciplinary Master's Program in Humanities and Social Thought (Draper Program)  in honour of his life-long commitment to interdisciplinary study.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "John_William_Draper". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|