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Edward Frankland

Edward Frankland
Chemistry, Controversy and Conspiracy in Victorian England


  • Date Published: December 2003
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521545815

£ 24.99

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About the Authors
  • This is the first scientific biography of Edward Frankland, probably the most eminent chemist of nineteenth-century Britain. Frankland discovered the chemical bond and founded the science of organometallic chemistry. He was a leading reformer of chemistry teaching, and the government's close adviser on urban water purity. From an apprenticeship in a druggist's shop in Lancaster, he was to occupy the first chemical chair at Manchester, and become professor at what became Imperial College. He was knighted in 1897. Today an obscurity of reputation stems from the conspiracy of silence surrounding Frankland's origins as an illegitimate child. Recently, however, Professor Russell has gained access to a vast collection of his private papers. Russell's authoritative account discloses, amongst much else, this web of conspiracy in the scientific community, and will be of great interest to professional chemists, historians of science, and general readers concerned with the social fabric of Victorian England.

    • The historical development of fundamental ideas in chemistry
    • Historical drama of personal triumph over adversity of disadvantaged background
    • Important record of Victorian society and politics of science
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Russell's skilled handling of this material makes much of the book read like a good novel, displaying deep insights into the emotions and interactions of the characters … at the same time … he writes with authority on Frankland's contribution to chemistry … a triumph … it commands the reader's attention … I commend it without reservation.' Fred Dainton, New Scientist

    'Russell … provides an overall account that can be understood and enjoyed by scientists from other disciplines, as well as by historians of science … Such vivid details of Frankland's private life and fascinating insights into his relationships with other eminent Victorians make this a rich and rewarding read … Frankland was undoubtedly one of Britain's most important and influential nineteenth-century scientists and it is good to see him properly honoured at last with a fine biography.' W. H. Brock, Nature

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2003
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521545815
    • length: 556 pages
    • dimensions: 246 x 189 x 29 mm
    • weight: 0.98kg
    • contains: 52 b/w illus. 17 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Lancastrian inheritance
    2. The road to discovery
    3. Queenwood
    4. New worlds in Germany
    5. Fundamental discoveries in chemistry
    6. Frankland and the development of valency
    7. Manchester: 'The educational and commercial utility of chemistry'
    8. Return to the metropolis
    9. Advances in organic chemistry
    10. The communication of chemistry
    11. The X-Club and beyond
    12. Family: years of crisis
    13. The analysis of water supply
    14. 'The wildest parts of nature'
    15. Power
    16. Retirement years
    17. The last journey.

  • Author

    Colin A. Russell, The Open University, Milton Keynes

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