Surviving eighteenth-century chemistry apparatus in the National Museums of Scotland - NMS Research Repository
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Book chapter

Surviving eighteenth-century chemistry apparatus in the National Museums of Scotland

17 September 2015

Abstract

From the mid eighteenth century, many medical students from across the world made their way to Edinburgh, drawn by the reputation of the faculty and the quality and nature of its teaching. Chemistry, in particular, had star performers, notably William Cullen and Joseph Black, whose innovative teaching styles excited and inspired their audiences. This book, which is based on conference papers given at the Crawford tercentenary meeting held at the Royal Society of Edinburgh in October 2013, describes the progress of chemistry at the University of Edinburgh from the appointment of the first professor, James Crawford, in 1713 to the career of Thomas Charles Hope, a century or so later. It includes the radical attempt by William Cullen to introduce ‘philosophical chemistry’ as a counterpart to Newton’s natural philosophy, and Joseph Black’s eventual acceptance of Lavoisier’s oxygen theory. This is a fascinating study of the period when Edinburgh’s chemistry literacy was higher than at any other time.

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