Thomas Slater Price

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Thomas Slater Price

Born(1875-08-24)24 August 1875
Died29 October 1949(1949-10-29) (aged 74)
Alma mater Mason College
Spouse(s)Florence Beardmore
Florence Mary
Scientific career
Doctoral advisor Wilhelm Ostwald

Prof Thomas Slater Price FRS FRSE FCS OBE (1875–1949) was a 20th-century British chemist. [1]



Price was born on 24 August 1875 in Wednesbury, the second of nine children of Thomas Price, a teacher, and Mary Anne (née Slater). His early education was at the Wesleyan school at which his father was headmaster. From age 12 he attended King Edward's School in Birmingham, from where he gained a place at Mason College. He graduated as BSc from the University of London in 1895, with first class honours in chemistry and physics.

After graduation he undertook research at Mason College, supervised by P F Frankland. He then worked in Leipzig with Wilhelm Ostwald and was awarded his PhD summa cum laude. In 1898 he continued his work in the laboratory of Svante Arrhenius in Stockholm.

He returned to Mason College in 1898 and finished his Stockholm research, for which he was awarded a University of London DSc. After a year at Sheffield, Price moved to the University of Birmingham, as senior lecturer in chemistry. In 1903, aged 28, he was appointed head of the chemistry department at the Birmingham Central Technical College.

In 1916 Price took up secret war work at the Royal Naval Experimental Station in Stratford, with the rank of Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Later the number and scope of the researches expanded and he was promoted Lieutenant-Commander, in charge of them all. One of the important projects was the design and filling of special apparatus for the formation of smoke screens at sea, used with great success in the raid on Zeebrugge. Price was awarded a military OBE in 1919. [2]

In September 1920 Price was appointed director of research at The British Photographic Association, which had been formed two years earlier. [3] He held this position for ten years. Many important papers came from its laboratories during the ten years he was in charge; [4] the Association closed in 1930.

In 1931 Price was appointed chair of chemistry of Heriot-Watt College, a post he held until he retired in 1940. He suffered persistent ill-health for most of this time.

Price published 36 papers in the period 1897 to 1923. The Royal Society elected him to its Fellowship in 1924, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1932. [1]


Thomas Slater Price married Florence Beardmore, also born in Wednesbury, in 1904. They had three children: Leslie, Eileen and Florence Mary. Price died on 29 October 1949 at Ratho, near Edinburgh, a little over a year after his wife had passed away. He was cremated on 2 November. Florence was buried at Wood Green Cemetery, Wednesbury, with her parents and brother. [5]

Other appointments

The Chemical Society
Member of Council, 1921-1924
Senior Honorary Secretary, 1924-1928
Honorary Treasurer, 1928-1931
Vice-President, 1931-1934
The Royal Institute of Chemistry
Examiner in Physical Chemistry, 1907-1911
Member of Council, 1911-1914 and 1921-1924
Vice-President, 1924-1927
The Royal Photographic Society
Member of Council, 1922-1931
Vice-President, 1926-1929


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  1. 1 2 Pickering, Kendal James (1951). "Thomas Slater Price, 1875-1949". Obit. Not. Fellows R. Soc. 7 (20): 469–474. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1951.0013. S2CID   178725928.
  2. "To be Officers of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order". The Edinburgh Gazette (13429): 1385. 4 April 1919.
  3. Price, T Slater (13 January 1921). "Industrial Research Associations. VIII.-The British Photographic Research Association". Nature. 106: 635. doi: 10.1038/106635a0 . S2CID   8286619.
  4. For exampleToy, F C (1926). "Measurement of Radiation Intensities by Photographic Methods". Nature. 117 (2933): 83. Bibcode:1926Natur.117...83T. doi:10.1038/117083a0. S2CID   4106546.andToy, F C (1928). "The Mechanism of Formation of the Latent Photographic Image". Nature. 121 (3057): 865. Bibcode:1928Natur.121..865T. doi:10.1038/121865a0. S2CID   4103852.
  5. "Florence Beardmore Price". Find a Grave. Retrieved 19 September 2020.