By Peter Reed
Robert Angus Smith (1817-1884) was once a Scottish chemist and a number one investigator into what got here to be often called 'acid rain'. This learn of his operating lifestyles, contextualized via dialogue of his youth, schooling, ideals, kinfolk, pursuits and impacts sheds gentle at the evolving realizing of sanitary technological know-how in the course of the 19th century. Born in Glasgow and at the beginning educated for a occupation within the Church of Scotland, Smith as a substitute went directly to learn chemistry in Germany lower than Justus von Liebig. On his go back to Manchester within the 1840s, Smith's robust Calvinist religion lead him to enhance a powerful predicament for the insanitary environmental stipulations in Manchester and different commercial cities in Britain. His appointment as Inspector of the Alkali management in 1863 enabled him to marry his social issues and his paintings as an analytical chemist, and this booklet explores his function as Inspector of the management from its inception via battles with chemical brands within the courts, to the fight to widen and tighten the regulatory framework as different destructive chemical nuisances turned identified. This research of Smith's lifestyles and paintings presents a big history to the best way that 'chemical' got here to have such unfavourable connotations within the century ahead of ebook of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. It additionally deals a desirable perception into the altering panorama of British politics as rules and enforcement of the chemical industries got here to be obvious as worthwhile, and is key examining for historians of technological know-how, expertise and within the 19th century, in addition to environmental historians looking heritage context to the twentieth-century environmental pursuits.
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Extra resources for Acid Rain and the Rise of the Environmental Chemist in Nineteenth-Century Britain
He was a member of the committee appointed on 19 April 1880 to pursue ‘a society for the promotion of the application of chemical science to manufacture’, which led to the formation of the Society of Chemical Industry in 1881. 67 With parliamentary legislation increasingly including regulations with a strong scientific or technical element to enable their enforcement, and scientists demonstrating the important part science could play in the affairs of society, Parliament and government embraced an increasing role for scientists to act as inspectors.
See Tyndall’s Journal (Royal Institution), f. 1364, and Richard G. Medhurst, Kathleen M. Goldney and Mary R. Barrington, Crookes and the Spirit World (London, 1972), pp. 232–4. 45 Crookes was determined to subject the psychic phenomena to scientific investigation, but this required the cooperation of the mediums and mystics in an experimental environment, and after several unsuccessful attempts he managed to persuade the medium Daniel Home to come to his house in Mornington Road, London for dinner followed by a séance to which Angus Smith and Alfred Russel Wallace, the naturalist and evolutionary theorist, were invited.
However, it was not until 1869 that he was able to take time off from his duties at the Alkali Inspectorate to devote to his investigations. 36 His investigations were to continue over a number of years and in 1882 he was visiting an area near Fort William to investigate a further glazed-stone fort close to Ben Nevis: Robert Angus Smith, Descriptive List of Antiquaries near Loch Etive (Glasgow, 36 1870). Introduction 15 The name of this fort, along with two or more of the same kind, is Dun Deardhuil, which the Rev.