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Franklin Bache. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B01320).

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Bache, Franklin (25 October 1792–19 March 1864), physician, chemist, and author, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Benjamin Franklin Bache, a noted anti-Federalist journalist, and Margaret Hartman Markoe Bache. Franklin Bache’s grandmother, Sarah Franklin Bache, was Benjamin Franklin’s daughter. He received a classical education in the academy of the Reverend Samuel D. Wylie and was awarded both his A.B. in 1810 and his M.D. in 1814 by the University of Pennsylvania. He studied medicine privately with ...

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Bancroft, Edward (09 January 1744–08 September 1821), physician, scientist, and spy, was born in Westfield, Massachusetts, the son of Edward Bancroft and Mary Ely, farmers. The elder Bancroft died in 1746 of an epileptic attack suffered in a pigpen, two months before the birth of his younger son, Daniel. His widow married David Bull of Westfield in 1751, and the family moved to Hartford, Connecticut, where Bull operated the Bunch of Grapes tavern. Edward Bancroft was taught for a time by the recent Yale graduate ...

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Benedict, Francis Gano (03 October 1870–14 May 1957), chemist and physiologist, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of Washington Gano Benedict, a businessman, and Harriet Emily Barrett. In about 1878 the family moved to Orange Park, Florida, and in 1881 to Boston, Massachusetts, where Benedict attended public schools and took piano lessons because of his parents’ interest in music....

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Bodley, Rachel Littler (07 December 1831–15 June 1888), botanist, chemist, and educator, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the daughter of Anthony Prichard Bodley, a carpenter and patternmaker, and Rebecca Wilson Talbott, a teacher. An 1849 graduate in classical studies of Wesleyan Female College in Cincinnati, Rachel Bodley taught there and served as preceptor in higher college studies until 1860, when she decided to pursue her interests in botany and chemistry. She began advanced studies in the natural sciences at the Polytechnic College in Philadelphia in 1860 and returned to Ohio in early 1862 to accept a position as professor of natural sciences at the Cincinnati Female Seminary....

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Gies, William John (21 February 1872–20 May 1956), biological chemist and patron of modern dentistry, was born in Reisterstown, Maryland, the son of John Gies, Jr. and Ophelia Letitia Ensminger, occupations unknown. His father died when he was two years old, whereupon his mother took him and his infant brother to the small Pennsylvania Dutch town of Manheim, where her father edited and published the local newspaper. At age seven, Gies started delivering the ...

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Guthrie, Samuel (1782–19 October 1848), chemist and physician, was born in Brimfield, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Guthrie, a physician, and Sarah (maiden name unknown). Of his childhood it is known only that he had what his mother considered an “unwholesome” interest in anatomy and that he decided very young to become a physician. He studied medicine with his father, a typical method of training at that time....

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Maclean, John (01 March 1771–17 February 1814), chemist and physician, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, the son of John Maclean, a surgeon, and Agnes Lang. Both Maclean’s parents died when he was very young, and a family friend, George Macintosh, acted as his guardian and guided his education. Following studies at the Glasgow Grammar School, he entered the university at the age of thirteen. Maclean’s major interest was in chemistry, but being of a practical nature he also studied medicine and anatomy in order to qualify as a surgeon. To broaden his chemical knowledge further, Maclean spent the years from 1787 to 1790 studying at Edinburgh, London, and Paris. This period coincided with the definitive phase of the chemical revolution....

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Sherman, Henry Clapp (16 October 1875–07 October 1955), chemist and nutritionist, was born near Ash Grove, Virginia, the son of Franklin Sherman and Caroline Clapp Alvord, farmers. After receiving an education in a rural, ungraded school, Sherman entered Maryland Agricultural College (now the University of Maryland) and earned a bachelor of science degree in 1893. He was an assistant to the state chemist of Maryland until 1895, when he began graduate study in chemistry at Columbia University, becoming in 1897 the youngest person to receive a Columbia Ph.D. From 1897 to 1899 he was an assistant in analytical chemistry at Columbia and also assisted ...

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Smith, John Lawrence (16 or 17 Dec. 1818–12 October 1883), chemist, mineralogist, and physician, was born near Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Benjamin Smith, a wealthy merchant; his mother’s name is unknown. At a very young age, even before he could read, John Lawrence Smith demonstrated precocity in mathematics. After attending private schools and receiving a classical education at the College of Charleston, in 1835 he entered the University of Virginia, where he concentrated on science, mathematics, and engineering. Returning to Charleston in 1837, he worked for one year on a Charleston-to-Cincinnati railroad engineering project before entering the Medical College of Charleston and completing requirements for his M.D. degree in 1840. He studied in Europe for several years with Justus Liebig (who inspired him to focus his research efforts on chemistry), J. B. Dumas, Matthieu Joseph Bonaventure Orfila, and Élie de Beaumont. Also at this time he initiated a lifelong association with ...

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Squibb, Edward Robinson (04 July 1819–25 October 1900), physician, chemist, and manufacturing pharmacist, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, the son of James Robinson Squibb (occupation unknown) and Catherine Bonsall. After Squibb’s mother died in 1831, the family moved to Philadelphia. In 1837 Edward became a pharmacist’s apprentice. Five years later he entered Jefferson Medical College; he received his M.D. degree in 1845....

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Williams, Robert Ramapatnam (16 February 1886–02 October 1965), chemist and nutritionist, was born in Nellore, India, the son of Robert Runnels Williams and Alice Evelyn Mills, missionaries. His mother educated him at a Baptist mission in Ramapatnam. After an accident crippled his father, the family returned to the United States in 1896. Williams attended schools in Kansas and California before enrolling in 1905 at Ottawa University in Kansas. Two years later he transferred to the University of Chicago, where he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry in 1907 and 1908, respectively. He met Augusta Parrish at Ottawa. They married in 1912 and had four children....