Acid Rain and the Rise of the Environmental Chemist in by Peter Reed

By Peter Reed

Robert Angus Smith (1817-1884) used to be a Scottish chemist and a number one investigator into what got here to be often called 'acid rain'. This learn of his operating existence, contextualized via dialogue of his youth, schooling, ideals, family members, pursuits and affects sheds gentle at the evolving realizing of sanitary technology in the course of the 19th century. Born in Glasgow and firstly educated for a occupation within the Church of Scotland, Smith as an alternative went directly to learn chemistry in Germany below Justus von Liebig. On his go back to Manchester within the 1840s, Smith's powerful Calvinist religion lead him to improve a robust main issue for the insanitary environmental stipulations in Manchester and different business cities in Britain. His appointment as Inspector of the Alkali management in 1863 enabled him to marry his social matters and his paintings as an analytical chemist, and this ebook explores his position 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 damaging chemical nuisances grew to become identified. This learn of Smith's lifestyles and paintings offers a big historical past to the way in which that 'chemical' got here to have such destructive connotations within the century sooner than e-book of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. It additionally deals a desirable perception into the altering panorama of British politics as law and enforcement of the chemical industries got here to be noticeable as worthy, and is key studying for historians of technological know-how, expertise and within the 19th century, in addition to environmental historians looking historical past context to the twentieth-century environmental activities.

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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.

152, and ‘Dr. Angus Smith’, The Manchester Guardian, 13 May 1884. 20 Acid Rain and the Rise of the Environmental Chemist in Britain professional work, principally from the demands of his two government inspector posts. Nevertheless, while recuperating in Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, he wrote to the Secretary of the Local Government Board about his determination to retain his inspector posts: after only a month’s holiday in Norway I struggle onwards determined … I am so far down that I am carried to my bedroom and sitting room, a condition hitherto unknown to me.

32 Robert Angus Smith, Disinfectants and Disinfection (Edinburgh, 1869). 33 Letter: Florence Nightingale to Sir Harry Verney, 9 June 1861. WL (Ref: Ms 8999/23). , University of Liverpool, 1993, pp. 1–5. 35 Bill Luckin, Pollution and Control (Bristol, 1986), pp. 164–7. Acid Rain and the Rise of the Environmental Chemist in Britain 14 As with the updated Alkali Acts, the Rivers Pollution Act of 1876 stipulated that treating industrial effluents and urban sewage before discharge required the best practical means.

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