Sir William Ramsay
|Born||2 October 1852|
|Died||23 July 1916 63) (aged|
High Wycombe, England
|Alma mater||University of Glasgow (1866–9)|
Anderson's University,now University of Strathclyde Glasgow (1869)
University of Tübingen (PhD 1873)
|Known for||Discovering noble gases|
|Awards|| Leconte Prize (1895)|
Barnard Medal for Meritorious Service to Science (1895)
Davy Medal (1895)
Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1904)
Matteucci Medal (1907)
Elliott Cresson Medal (1913)
|Institutions|| University of Glasgow (1874–80)|
University College, Bristol (1880–87)
University College London (1887–1913)
|Doctoral advisor||Wilhelm Rudolph Fittig|
|Doctoral students||Edward Charles Cyril Baly|
James Johnston Dobbie
Sir William Ramsay // ; 2 October 1852 – 23 July 1916) was a Scottish chemist who discovered the noble gases and received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1904 "in recognition of his services in the discovery of the inert gaseous elements in air" along with his collaborator, John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh, who received the Nobel Prize in Physics that same year for their discovery of argon. After the two men identified argon, Ramsay investigated other atmospheric gases. His work in isolating argon, helium, neon, krypton and xenon led to the development of a new section of the periodic table.(
Ramsay was born at 2 Clifton Streetin Glasgow on 2 October 1852, the son of civil engineer and surveyor, William C. Ramsay, and his wife, Catherine Robertson. The family lived at 2 Clifton Street in the city centre, a three-storey and basement Georgian townhouse. The family moved to 1 Oakvale Place in the Hillhead district in his youth. He was a nephew of the geologist Sir Andrew Ramsay.
He was educated at Glasgow Academy and then apprenticed to Robert Napier, shipbuilder in Govan.However, he instead decided to study Chemistry at the University of Glasgow, matriculating in 1866 and graduating 1869. He then undertook practical training with the chemist Thomas Anderson and then went to study in Germany at the University of Tübingen with Wilhelm Rudolph Fittig where his doctoral thesis was entitled Investigations in the Toluic and Nitrotoluic Acids.
Ramsay went back to Glasgow as Anderson's assistant at the Anderson College. He was appointed as Professor of Chemistry at the University College of Bristol in 1879 and married Margaret Buchanan in 1881. In the same year he became the Principal of University College, Bristol, and somehow managed to combine that with active research both in organic chemistry and on gases.
In 1887 he succeeded Alexander Williamson as the chair of Chemistry at University College London (UCL). It was here at UCL that his most celebrated discoveries were made. As early as 1885–1890 he published several notable papers on the oxides of nitrogen, developing the skills that he needed for his subsequent work.
On the evening of 19 April 1894 Ramsay attended a lecture given by Lord Rayleigh. Rayleigh had noticed a discrepancy between the density of nitrogen made by chemical synthesis and nitrogen isolated from the air by removal of the other known components. After a short conversation he and Ramsay decided to investigate this. In August Ramsay told Rayleigh he had isolated a new, heavy component of air, which did not appear to have any chemical reactivity. He named this inert gas "argon", from the Greek word meaning "lazy".In the following years, working with Morris Travers, he discovered neon, krypton, and xenon. He also isolated helium, which had only been observed in the spectrum of the sun, and had not previously been found on earth. In 1910 he isolated and characterised radon.
During 1893–1902 Ramsay collaborated with Emily Aston, a British chemist, in experiments on mineral analysis and atomic weight determination. Their work included publications on the molecular surface energies of mixtures of non-associating liquids.
He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 1902 Coronation Honours list published on 26 June 1902,and invested as such by King Edward VII at Buckingham Palace on 24 October 1902.
In 1904 Ramsay received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Ramsay's standing among scientists led him to become an adviser to the Indian Institute of Science. He suggested Bangalore as the location for the institute.
Ramsay endorsed the Industrial and Engineering Trust Ltd., a company that claimed it could extract gold from seawater, in 1905. It bought property on the English coast to begin its secret process. The company never produced any gold.
Ramsay was the president of the British Association in 1911–1912.
In 1881 Ramsay was married to Margaret Johnstone Marshall (née Buchanan), daughter of George Stevenson Buchanan. They had a daughter, Catherine Elizabeth (Elska) and a son, William George, who died at 40.
Ramsay lived in Hazlemere, Buckinghamshire, until his death. He died in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, on 23 July 1916 from nasal cancer at the age of 63 and was buried in Hazlemere parish church.
A blue plaque at number 12 Arundel Gardens, Notting Hill, commemorates his life and work.
The Sir William Ramsay School in Hazlemere and Ramsay grease are named after him.
On October 2, 2019, Google celebrated his 167th birthday with a Google Doodle.
Argon is a chemical element with the symbol Ar and atomic number 18. It is in group 18 of the periodic table and is a noble gas. Argon is the third-most abundant gas in the Earth's atmosphere, at 0.934%. It is more than twice as abundant as water vapor, 23 times as abundant as carbon dioxide, and more than 500 times as abundant as neon. Argon is the most abundant noble gas in Earth's crust, comprising 0.00015% of the crust.
John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh,, was a British scientist who made extensive contributions to both theoretical and experimental physics. He spent all of his academic career at the University of Cambridge. Among many honors, he received the 1904 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his investigations of the densities of the most important gases and for his discovery of argon in connection with these studies." He served as President of the Royal Society from 1905 to 1908 and as Chancellor of the University of Cambridge from 1908 to 1919.
The noble gases make up a class of chemical elements with similar properties; under standard conditions, they are all odourless, colourless, monatomic gases with very low chemical reactivity. The six naturally occurring noble gases are helium (He), neon (Ne), argon (Ar), krypton (Kr), xenon (Xe), and the radioactive radon (Rn). Oganesson (Og) is variously predicted to be a noble gas as well or to break the trend due to relativistic effects; its chemistry has not yet been investigated.
Neon is a chemical element with the symbol Ne and atomic number 10. It is a noble gas. Neon is a colorless, odorless, inert monatomic gas under standard conditions, with about two-thirds the density of air. It was discovered in 1898 as one of the three residual rare inert elements remaining in dry air, after nitrogen, oxygen, argon and carbon dioxide were removed. Neon was the second of these three rare gases to be discovered and was immediately recognized as a new element from its bright red emission spectrum. The name neon is derived from the Greek word, νέον, neuter singular form of νέος (neos), meaning new. Neon is chemically inert, and no uncharged neon compounds are known. The compounds of neon currently known include ionic molecules, molecules held together by van der Waals forces and clathrates.
Sir William Crookes was a British chemist and physicist who attended the Royal College of Chemistry in London, and worked on spectroscopy. He was a pioneer of vacuum tubes, inventing the Crookes tube which was made in 1875. This was a foundational discovery that eventually changed the whole of chemistry and physics.
Sir James Dewar was a Scottish chemist and physicist. He is best known for his invention of the vacuum flask, which he used in conjunction with research into the liquefaction of gases. He also studied atomic and molecular spectroscopy, working in these fields for more than 25 years.
The Royal Institution of Great Britain is an organisation devoted to scientific education and research, based in the City of Westminster. It was founded in 1799 by the leading British scientists of the age, including Henry Cavendish and its first president, George Finch, the 9th Earl of Winchilsea. Its foundational principles were diffusing the knowledge of, and facilitating the general introduction of, useful mechanical inventions and improvements, as well as enhancing the application of science to the common purposes of life.
Joseph Black was a Scottish physicist and chemist, known for his discoveries of magnesium, latent heat, specific heat, and carbon dioxide. He was Professor of Anatomy and Chemistry at the University of Glasgow for 10 years from 1756, and then Professor of Medicine and Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh from 1766, teaching and lecturing there for more than 30 years.
The periodic table is an arrangement of the chemical elements, organized on the basis of their atomic numbers, electron configurations and recurring chemical properties. Elements are presented in order of increasing atomic number. The standard form of the table consists of a grid with rows called periods and columns called groups.
Morris William Travers, FRS was an English chemist who worked with Sir William Ramsay in the discovery of xenon, neon and krypton. His work on several of the rare gases earned him the name Rare gas Travers in scientific circles. He was the founding director of the Indian Institute of Science.
o-Toluic acid, also 2-methylbenzoic acid, is an aromatic carboxylic acid, with formula (CH3)C6H4(COOH). It is an isomer of p-toluic acid and m-toluic acid. When purified and recrystallized, o-toluic acid forms needle-shaped crystals. o-Toluic acid was first noticed by Sir William Ramsay, credited discoverer of the noble gases and winner of the 1904 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Robert John Strutt, 4th Baron Rayleigh FRS was a British peer and physicist. He discovered "active nitrogen" and was the first to distinguish the glow of the night sky.
Air sensitivity is a term used, particularly in chemistry, to denote the reactivity of chemical compounds with some constituent of air. Most often, reactions occur with atmospheric oxygen (O2) or water vapor (H2O), although reactions with the other constituents of air such as carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), and nitrogen (N2) are also possible.
Sir James Johnston Dobbie, FRS FRSE FIC FCS was known for the isolation, chemical structure, and physical properties of alkaloids. He isolated hydroxycodeine from opium and synthesized diphenylene. He carried out UV-VIS spectra of gaseous main group elements and organic compounds.
Events from the year 1904 in the United Kingdom.
Krypton is a chemical element with the symbol Kr and atomic number 36. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless noble gas that occurs in trace amounts in the atmosphere and is often used with other rare gases in fluorescent lamps. With rare exceptions, krypton is chemically inert.
In chemistry, the term chemically inert is used to describe a substance that is not chemically reactive. From a thermodynamic perspective, a substance is inert, or nonlabile, if it is thermodynamically unstable yet decomposes at a slow, or negligible rate.
William Francis Hillebrand was an American chemist.
An air separation plant separates atmospheric air into its primary components, typically nitrogen and oxygen, and sometimes also argon and other rare inert gases.
Katharine Isabella Williams was a British woman chemist who became a student, aged 29, at University College Bristol. She was known for her collaboration in the 1880s with Nobel prize winning Scottish chemist, William Ramsay and was also one of the signatories of the 1904 petition for the admission of women to the Chemical Society.
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