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Chemist, entomologist, Darwinian, and man of affairs: Raphael Meldola and the making of a scientific career

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Abstract:

Raphael Meldola FRS (1849-1915) was professor of chemistry at the City and Guilds Technical College in Finsbury. He was a colleague and close friend of Silvanus Phillips Thompson FRS (1851-1916), the college principal and professor of physics. This paper follows an earlier one on Thompson and the making of his career. It is intended to illustrate further the ways in which scientists of Meldola and Thompson's generation gained advancement within the scientific community. Meldola had interests beyond chemistry, including a serious interest in field entomology. In this he had several well-known mentors including Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin. The paper, which includes much new information derived from archival work, is presented as six thematic narratives related, among other things, to chemical and technical education, dye chemistry, the Royal Society solar eclipse expedition of 1875, natural history and Darwinism, field clubs, learned societies, and the honouring of scientists. Together these narratives illustrate a generalist/voluntarist career pattern that came to an end with the First World War.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00033790903472980

Affiliations: Imperial College London, London, UK

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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