Dr Robert Kerr FRSE FAS FRCSE (20 October 1757 – 11 October 1813) was a Scottish surgeon, writer on scientific and other subjects, and translator.
Kerr was born in 1757in Bughtridge, Roxburghshire, the son of James Kerr, a jeweller, who served as MP for Edinburgh 1747–1754, and his wife Elizabeth. He was sent to the High School in Edinburgh.
He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh and practised at the Edinburgh Foundling Hospital as a surgeon. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1788. His proposers were Alexander Fraser Tytler, James Russell and Andrew Dalzell.At this time he lived at Foresters Wynd off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.
He translated several scientific works into English, such as Antoine Lavoisier's work of 1789, Traité Élémentaire de Chimie , published under the title Elements of Chemistry in a New Systematic Order containing All the Modern Discoveries, in 1790.In 1792, he published The Animal Kingdom, the first two volumes of a four-tome translation of Linnaeus' Systema Naturae , which is often cited as the taxonomic authority for a great many species. (He never translated the remaining two volumes.)
In 1794 he left his post as a surgeon to manage a paper mill at Ayton in Berwickshire which he had purchased. He lost much of his fortune with this enterprise. Out of economical necessity he began writing again in 1809, publishing a variety of minor works, for instance a General View of the Agriculture of Berwickshire. His last work was a translation of Cuvier's Recherches sur les ossements fossiles de quadrupedes, which was published after Kerr's death under the title "Essays on the Theory of the Earth".
His other works included a massive historical study entitled A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels in eighteen volumes. Kerr began the series in 1811, dedicating it to Sir Alexander Cochrane, K.B., Vice-Admiral of the White. Publication did not cease following Kerr's death in 1813; the latter volumes were published into the 1820s.
He died at home, Hope Park House,east of the Meadows in Edinburgh, where he had lived since 1810, and is buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard in central Edinburgh against the eastern wall. His stone is added to a much earlier (1610) ornate stone monument. His son, David Wardrobe Kerr (1796–1815) lies with him.
Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier, also Antoine Lavoisier after the French Revolution, was a French nobleman and chemist who was central to the 18th-century chemical revolution and who had a large influence on both the history of chemistry and the history of biology. He is widely considered in popular literature as the "father of modern chemistry".
Antoine François, comte de Fourcroy was a French chemist and a contemporary of Antoine Lavoisier. Fourcroy collaborated with Lavoisier, Guyton de Morveau, and Claude Berthollet on the Méthode de nomenclature chimique, a work that helped standardize chemical nomenclature.
Tobias George Smollett was a Scottish poet and author. He was best known for his picaresque novels, such as The Adventures of Roderick Random (1748), The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle (1751) and The Expedition of Humphry Clinker (1771), which influenced later novelists, including Charles Dickens. His novels were amended liberally by printers; a definitive edition of each of his works was edited by Dr O. M. Brack Jr to correct such variations.
James Beattie was a Scottish poet, moralist, and philosopher.
William Cullen FRS FRSE FRCPE FPSG was a Scottish physician, chemist and agriculturalist, and one of the most important professors at the Edinburgh Medical School, during its heyday as the leading centre of medical education in the English-speaking world.
William Nicholson was a renowned English chemist and writer on "natural philosophy" and chemistry, as well as a translator, journalist, publisher, scientist, inventor, patent agent and civil engineer.
Dr William Roxburgh FRSE FRCPE FLS was a Scottish surgeon and botanist who worked extensively in India, describing species and working on economic botany. He is known as the founding father of Indian botany. He published numerous works on Indian botany, illustrated by careful drawings made by Indian artists and accompanied by taxonomic descriptions of many plant species. Apart from the numerous species that he named, many species were named in his honour by his collaborators.
Sir James Hall of Dunglass, 4th Baronet FRS FRSE was a Scottish geologist and geophysicist. He was a Member of Parliament for St. Michael's borough 1807–1812.
John Mills was an English writer on agriculture, translator and editor. Mills and Gottfried Sellius are known for being the first to prepare a French edition of Ephraim Chambers's Cyclopaedia for publication in 1745, which eventually resulted in the Encyclopédie published in France between 1751 and 1772.
John Davy FRS FRSE was a Cornish doctor, amateur chemist, brother of the noted chemist Sir Humphry Davy, and cousin of Edmund Davy.
Thomas Thomson was a Scottish chemist and mineralogist whose writings contributed to the early spread of Dalton's atomic theory. His scientific accomplishments include the invention of the saccharometer and he gave silicon its current name. He served as president of the Philosophical Society of Glasgow.
The chemical revolution, also called the first chemical revolution, was the early modern reformulation of chemistry that culminated in the law of conservation of mass and the oxygen theory of combustion. During the 19th and 20th century, this transformation was credited to the work of the French chemist Antoine Lavoisier. However, recent work on the history of early modern chemistry considers the chemical revolution to consist of gradual changes in chemical theory and practice that emerged over a period of two centuries. The so-called scientific revolution took place during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries whereas the chemical revolution took place during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Marie-Anne Pierrette Paulze was a French chemist and noblewoman. Madame Lavoisier was the wife of the chemist and nobleman Antoine Lavoisier, and acted as his laboratory companion and contributed to his work. She played a pivotal role in the translation of several scientific works, and was instrumental to the standardization of the scientific method.
Marc-Antoine Eidous was a French writer, translator and Encyclopedist born in Marseilles.
Traité élémentaire de chimie is a textbook written by Antoine Lavoisier published in 1789 and translated into English by Robert Kerr in 1790 under the title Elements of Chemistry in a New Systematic Order containing All the Modern Discoveries. It is considered to be the first modern chemical textbook.
James Grainger was a Scottish doctor, poet and translator. He settled on St. Kitts from 1759 until his death of a fever on 16 December 1766. As a writer, he is best known for his poem The Sugar Cane, which is now valued as an important historical document.
John Aitken MD, FRCSEd was a Scottish surgeon, author and the first extramural teacher of medical subjects in Edinburgh since the foundation of the Edinburgh Medical school in 1726.
Francis Home FRSE FRCPE was a Scottish physician, and the first Professor of Materia Medica at the University of Edinburgh, known to make the first attempt to vaccinate against measles, in 1758. In 1783 he was one of the founders of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Sir James Prior (c.1790–1869) was an Irish surgeon and writer.
Claudine Picardet was a chemist, mineralogist, meteorologist and scientific translator. Among the French chemists of the late eighteenth century she stands out for her extensive translations of scientific literature from Swedish, English, German and Italian to French. She translated three books and thousands of pages of scientific papers, which were published as well as circulated in manuscript form. She hosted renowned scientific and literary salons in Dijon and Paris, and was an active participant in the collection of meteorological data. She helped to establish Dijon and Paris as scientific centers, substantially contributing to the spread of scientific knowledge during a critical period in the chemical revolution.