Pure Intelligence

Pure Intelligence : The Life of William Hyde Wollaston

3.67 (3 ratings by Goodreads)
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William Hyde Wollaston made an astonishing number of discoveries in an astonishingly varied number of fields: platinum metallurgy, the existence of ultraviolet radiation, the chemical elements palladium and rhodium, the amino acid cystine, and the physiology of binocular vision, among others. Along with his colleagues Humphry Davy and Thomas Young, he was widely recognized during his life as one of Britain's leading scientific practitioners in the first part of the nineteenth century, and the deaths of all three within a six-month span, between 1828 and 1829, were seen by many as the end of a glorious period of British scientific supremacy. Unlike Davy and Young, however, Wollaston was not the subject of a contemporary biography, and his many impressive achievements have fallen into obscurity as a result. Pure Intelligence is the first book - length study of Wollaston, his science, and the environment in which he thrived.
Drawing on previously unstudied laboratory records as well as historical reconstructions of chemical experiments and discoveries, and written in a highly accessible style, Pure Intelligence will help to reinstate Wollaston in the history of science and the pantheon of its great innovators.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 424 pages
  • 160 x 235 x 30mm | 706g
  • University of Chicago Press
  • United States
  • English
  • 022624573X
  • 9780226245737
  • 2,117,686

Review quote

"Portraying the extraordinary polymath Wollaston both in detail and in the round, this elegantly written work is a major contribution to understanding early nineteenth-century British science. Usselman exhibits quiet mastery of the diverse fields in which Wollaston labored, fitting his subject into the science, the technology, and the political and economic life of his day. His work says much about themes of great current historical interest, including the relationships of science to artisanal crafts, invention, and enterprise. Pure Intelligence is both an intellectual tour de force and a pleasure to read." (Alan Rocke, Case Western Reserve University)
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About Melvyn C. Usselman

Melvyn C. Usselman is professor emeritus in the Department of Chemistry at Western University in London, Ontario.
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Rating details

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