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Joseph Black

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Joseph Black
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| birth_place = Bordeaux, France179964df=yes}}| death_place = Edinburgh, Scotland| residence = | citizenship = United Kingdom>Scottish| alma_mater = University of GlasgowUniversity of Edinburgh| doctoral_advisor = | academic_advisors = William Cullen| doctoral_students = | notable_students = James Edward Smith Thomas Charles Hope| known_for = Latent heat, specific heat, and the discovery of carbon dioxide| author_abbrev_bot = | author_abbrev_zoo = | influences = | influenced = James Watt, Benjamin RushJohn Gribbin (2002) Science: A History 1543–2001.| signature = | footnotes = | honorific_suffix = | field = Medicine, physics, chemistry| work_institutions = University of Edinburgh| prizes = | religion = }}(File:Joseph Black plaque by James Tassie, Hunterian Museum, Glasgow.jpg|thumb|Joseph Black plaque by James Tassie, Hunterian Museum, Glasgow)Joseph Black (16 April 1728 – 6 December 1799) 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.{{DSB|first=Henry|last=Guerlac|title=Black, Joseph|volume=2|pages=173–183}}The chemistry buildings at both the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow are named after Black.

Early life and education

Black was born in Bordeaux, France, the sixth of the 12 children of Margaret Gordon (d. 1747) and John Black. His mother was from an Aberdeenshire family that had connections with the wine business and his father was from Belfast, Ireland and worked as a factor in the wine trade.BOOK, Lenard, Philipp, Great Men of Science, 1950, G. Bell and Sons, London, 129, 0-8369-1614-X, (Translated from the second German edition.) He was educated at home until the age of 12, after which he attended grammar school in Belfast. In 1746 at the age of 18 he entered the University of Glasgow, studying there for four years before spending another four at the University of Edinburgh, furthering his medical studies. During his studies he wrote a doctorate thesis on the treatment of kidney stones with the salt magnesium carbonate.BOOK, Antonis Modinos, From Aristotle to Schrödinger: The Curiosity of Physics,weblink 15 October 2013, Springer International Publishing, 978-3-319-00749-6, 134,

Work

Chemical principles

Like most 18th-century experimentalists, Black's conceptualisation of chemistry was based on five 'principles' of matter: Water, Salt, Earth, Fire and Metal.BOOK, Eddy, Matthew Daniel, John Walker, Chemistry and the Edinburgh Medical School, 1750-1800, 2008, Routledge, London,weblink He added the principle of 'Air' when his experiments definitely confirmed the presence of carbon dioxide, which he called 'fixed air'. Black's research was guided by questions relating to how the 'principles' combined with each other in various different forms and mixtures. He used the term 'affinity' to describe the force that held such combinations together.JOURNAL, Eddy, Matthew Daniel, How to See a Diagram: A Visual Anthropology of Chemical Affinity, Osiris, 2014, 29, 178–196, 10.1086/678093,weblink Throughout his career he used a variety of diagrams and formulas to teach his University of Edinburgh students how to manipulate 'affinity' through different kinds of experimentation.JOURNAL, Eddy, Matthew Daniel, Useful Pictures: Joseph Black and the Graphic Culture of Experimentation, in Robert G. W. Anderson (Ed.), Cradle of Chemistry: The Early Years of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh: John Donald, 2015), 99-118.,weblink

Analytical balance

(File:BalanceMineralPachuca.JPG|thumb|A precision analytical balance)In about 1750, while still a student, Black developed the analytical balance based on a light-weight beam balanced on a wedge-shaped fulcrum. Each arm carried a pan on which the sample or standard weights was placed. It far exceeded the accuracy of any other balance of the time and became an important scientific instrument in most chemistry laboratories.WEB, Equal Arm Analytical Balances,weblink 8 March 2008,

Latent heat

File:Ice-calorimeter.jpg|thumb|The world's first ice-calorimeter, used in the winter of 1782–83, by Antoine Lavoisier and Pierre-Simon Laplace, to determine the heat evolved in various chemical changes, calculations which were based on Joseph Black's prior discovery of latent heatlatent heatIn 1757, Black was appointed Regius Professor of the Practice of Medicine at the University of Glasgow.In 1761 he deduced that the application of heat to ice at its melting point does not cause a rise in temperature of the ice/water mixture, but rather an increase in the amount of water in the mixture. Additionally, Black observed that the application of heat to boiling water does not result in a rise in temperature of a water/steam mixture, but rather an increase in the amount of steam. From these observations, he concluded that the heat applied must have combined with the ice particles and boiling water and become latent.EB1911, Black, Joseph, 4, The theory of latent heat marks the beginning of thermodynamics.BOOK, Ogg, David, Europe of the Ancien Regime: 1715–1783, 1965, Harper & Row, 117 and 283, Black's theory of latent heat was one of his more-important scientific contributions, and one on which his scientific fame chiefly rests. He also showed that different substances have different specific heats.The theory ultimately proved important not only in the development of abstract science but in the development of the steam engine.BOOK, Ogg, David, Europe of the Ancien Regime: 1715–1783, 1965, Harper & Row, 283, The latent heat of water is large compared with many other liquids, so giving impetus to James Watt's attempts to improve the efficiency of the steam engine invented by Thomas Newcomen. Black and Watt became friends after meeting around 1757 while both were at Glasgow. Black provided significant financing and other support for Watt's early research in steam power.

Carbon dioxide

Black also explored the properties of a gas produced in various reactions. He found that limestone (calcium carbonate) could be heated or treated with acids to yield a gas he called "fixed air." He observed that the fixed air was denser than air and did not support either flame or animal life. Black also found that when bubbled through an aqueous solution of lime (calcium hydroxide), it would precipitate calcium carbonate. He used this phenomenon to illustrate that carbon dioxide is produced by animal respiration and microbial fermentation.

Professorship

In 1766, treading in the footsteps of his friend and former teacher at the University of Glasgow, Black succeeded William Cullen as Professor of Medicine and Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh (Cullen had moved to Edinburgh in 1755). His position at Glasgow University was filled by Alexander Stevenson.Medical and Philosophical Commentaries 1792At this point he gave up research and devoted himself exclusively to teaching. In this he was successful with audience attendance at his lectures increasing from year to year for more than thirty years. His lectures had a powerful effect in popularising chemistry and attendance at them even came to be a fashionable amusement.Black was widely recognised as one of the most popular lecturers at the University. His chemistry course regularly attracted an exceptionally high number of students, with many attending two or three times. In addition to regularly introducing cutting-edge topics and meticulously selecting visually impressive experiments, Black employed a wide array of successful teaching tools that made chemistry accessible to his students (many of whom were as young as 14 years old).JOURNAL, Eddy, Matthew Daniel, How to See a Diagram: A Visual Anthropology of Chemical Affinity, Osiris, 2014, 178–196, 10.1086/678093,weblink BOOK, Eddy, Matthew Daniel, 'Useful Pictures: Joseph Black and the Graphic Culture of Experimentation', in Robert G. W. Anderson (Ed.), Cradle of Chemistry: The Early Years of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh: John Donald, 99–118,weblink His students came from across the United Kingdom, its colonies and Europe, and hundreds of them preserved his lectures in their notebooks and disseminated his ideas after they left university.{{quotation|He became one of the principal ornaments of the University; and his lectures were attended by an audience which continued increasing from year to year, for more than thirty years. It could not be otherwise. His personal appearance and manners were those of a gentleman, and peculiarly pleasing. His voice in lecturing was low, but fine; and his articulation so distinct, that he was perfectly well heard by an audience consisting of several hundreds. His discourse was so plain and perspicuous, his illustration by experiment so apposite, that his sentiments on any subject never could be mistaken even by the most illiterate; and his instructions were so clear of all hypothesis or conjecture, that the hearer rested on his conclusions with a confidence scarcely exceeded in matters of his own experience.The National Cyclopaedia of Useful Knowledge Vol III, (1847), London, Charles Knight, p.382.}}On 17 November 1783 he became one of the founders of the Royal Society of Edinburghweblink From 1788 to 1790 he was President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.WEB,weblink College Fellows: curing scurvy and discovering nitrogen, Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh, 4 November 2015, He was a member of the revision committee for the editions of the college's Pharmacopoeia Edinburgensis of 1774, 1783, and 1794. Black was appointed principal physician to King George III in Scotland.Black's research and teaching were reduced as a result of poor health. From 1793 his health declined further and he gradually withdrew from his teaching duties. In 1795, Charles Hope was appointed his coadjutor in his professorship, and in 1797 he lectured for the last time.

Personal life

File:Joseph Black's grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard.jpg|thumb|Joseph Black's grave in Greyfriars KirkyardGreyfriars KirkyardBlack was a member of The Poker Club. He was 1st cousin, great friend and colleague to Adam Ferguson FRSE who married his niece Katherine Burnett in 1767, and associated with David Hume, Adam Smith, and the literati of the Scottish Enlightenment. He was also close to pioneering geologist James Hutton.Records of the Clan and Name of Ferguson 1895 p.138 note 1 accessed 22 Dec 2018In 1773 he is listed as living on College Wynd on the south side of the Old Town.Edinburgh Post Office directory 1773Black never married. He died peacefully at his home in Edinburgh in 1799 at the age of 71 and is buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard. The large monument lies in the sealed section to the south-west known as the Covenanter's Prison.In 2011, scientific equipment believed to belong to Black was discovered during an archaeological dig at the University of Edinburgh.NEWS,weblink Dig finds treasured tools of leading 18th century scientist, The Scotsman, 28 June 2011, yes,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20120418123942weblink">weblink 18 April 2012,

See also

References

{{Reflist|35em}}

Further reading

  • BOOK, Ramsay, William, William Ramsay, The Life and Letters of Joseph Black, 1918, Constable, London,weblink Internet Archive,
  • JOURNAL, JOSEPH BLACK and the discovery of carbon dioxide, The Medical Journal of Australia, 44, 23, 801–2, June 1957, 13440275,
  • JOURNAL, Joseph Black—rediscoverer of fixed air, JAMA, 196, 4, 362–3, April 1966, 5325596, 10.1001/jama.196.4.362,
  • JOURNAL, Breathnach CS, Irish links of the multinational chemist Joseph Black (1728–1799), Journal of the Irish Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons, 28, 4, 228–31, October 1999, 11624012,
  • JOURNAL, Breathnach CS, Joseph Black (1728–1799): an early adept in quantification and interpretation, Journal of Medical Biography, 8, 3, 149–55, August 2000, 10954923,
  • JOURNAL, Buchanan WW, Brown DH, Joseph Black (1728–1799): Scottish physician and chemist, The Practitioner, 224, 1344, 663–6, June 1980, 6999492,
  • JOURNAL, Buess H, [Joseph Black (1728–1799) and the original chemical experimental research in biology and medicine], German, Gesnerus, 13, 3–4, 165–89, 1956, 13397909,
  • JOURNAL, Donovan A, James Hutton, Joseph Black and the chemical theory of heat, Ambix, 25, 3, 176–90, November 1978, 11615707, 10.1179/000269878790223935,
  • {{Eminent Scotsmen|Black, Joseph|1|218-22}}
  • JOURNAL, Eklund JB, Davis AB, Joseph Black matriculates: medicine and magnesia alba, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 27, 4, 396–417, October 1972, 4563352,weblink 10.1093/jhmas/xxvii.4.396,
  • JOURNAL, FOREGGER R, Joseph Black and the identification of carbon dioxide, Anesthesiology, 18, 2, 257–64, 1957, 13411612, 10.1097/00000542-195703000-00011,
  • JOURNAL, FRACKELTON WG, Joseph Black and some aspects of medicine in the eighteenth century, The Ulster Medical Journal, 22, 2, 87–99, November 1953, 13136576, 2479821,
  • JOURNAL, GUERLAC H, Joseph Black and fixed air. II, Isis, 48, 154, 433–56, December 1957, 13491209, 10.1086/348610,
  • BOOK, Lenard, Philipp, Great Men of Science, 1950, G. Bell and Sons, London, 129, 0-8369-1614-X,
  • JOURNAL, Perrin CE, A reluctant catalyst: Joseph Black and the Edinburgh reception of Lavoisier's chemistry, Ambix, 29, 3, 141–76, November 1982, 11615908, 10.1179/000269882790224551,
  • BOOK, Ramsay, William, The Gases of the Atmosphere, 1905, Macmillan, London,
  • DNB, Black, Joseph,

External links

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