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Bibliophile price: £6.00
The University of Edinburgh was the world's most sought-after centre for the teaching and study of chemistry in the late 18th century. The volume starts with John Henry providing a context for Scottish science at the beginning of the 18th century, concentrating mainly on the influence of Sir Isaac Newton. The story is taken up by John C. Powers in considering the influence of the Leiden Professor Herman Boerhaave on James Crawford and Andrew Plummer, the first two professors of chemistry in Edinburgh. In addition to its more theoretical component, chemistry is a practical subject - experimentation and demonstration play an important role in its pedagogy. Georgette Taylor particularly considers the chemical pedagogy of Plummer and his successor William Cullen. Plummer seems to have concentrated his teachings largely on drug preparation which Cullen did not admire. In 1755, Cullen reassured the young Joseph Black about this. The 1770s and 80s was a period that saw new chemistry by the French chemist Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier. It was all of their innovative teaching styles that excited and inspired their audiences. It was Edinburgh that the chemical definition of gases was first conceived by Joseph Black in 1754. His description of the role of carbon monoxide in combustion, respiration and plant life was ground-breaking, although he was cautious in accepting the views of Lavoisier in the role of oxygen. The main purpose of chemical teaching was for the training of doctors and the medical school enjoyed a high reputation, and large numbers of the public also signed up for the lectures. Black sometimes had an audience of 300 people and his successor, Thomas Charles Hope, occasionally had classes of over 500. Chemistry had become a fashionable subject. Well illustrated including colour plates, 198pp. Apologies if black cover slightly scuffed.

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