By Peter Reed
Robert Angus Smith (1817-1884) was once a Scottish chemist and a number one investigator into what got here to be often called 'acid rain'. This research of his operating lifestyles, contextualized via dialogue of his early life, schooling, ideals, kin, pursuits and impacts sheds gentle at the evolving figuring out of sanitary technology throughout the 19th century. Born in Glasgow and at the start informed for a profession within the Church of Scotland, Smith in its place went directly to examine chemistry in Germany less than Justus von Liebig. On his go back to Manchester within the 1840s, Smith's powerful Calvinist religion lead him to strengthen a powerful obstacle for the insanitary environmental stipulations in Manchester and different commercial cities in Britain. His appointment as Inspector of the Alkali management in 1863 enabled him to marry his social issues and his paintings as an analytical chemist, and this publication explores his function as Inspector of the management from its inception via battles with chemical brands within the courts, to the fight to widen and tighten the regulatory framework as different destructive chemical nuisances turned recognized. This research of Smith's existence and paintings presents a massive history to the best way that 'chemical' got here to have such adverse connotations within the century prior to ebook of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. It additionally bargains a desirable perception into the altering panorama of British politics as rules and enforcement of the chemical industries got here to be visible as worthwhile, and is key studying for historians of technology, know-how and within the 19th century, in addition to environmental historians looking heritage context to the twentieth-century environmental activities.
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Additional info for Acid Rain and the Rise of the Environmental Chemist in Nineteenth-Century Britain
14 Liebig’s work over many years was a direct challenge to such a view. But his concerns went wider, for he saw science and particularly chemistry leading the way in bringing benefits to all in society and overcoming the harsh and oppressive living conditions that so many found themselves in. This acted as a carrion call for many of Liebig’s students, and for Angus Smith and for Lyon Playfair it was to become the raison d’être underpinning their future commitments to improving public health. Influence of Meetings of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS) The BAAS was formed in York in 1831.
Acid Rain and the Rise of the Environmental Chemist in Britain 14 As with the updated Alkali Acts, the Rivers Pollution Act of 1876 stipulated that treating industrial effluents and urban sewage before discharge required the best practical means. With Angus Smith’s investigations on town sanitation and sewage, and with his success in the Alkali Inspectorate working with industrialists to control pollution and enforce regulations, few were surprised when he was appointed as Inspector to work alongside the existing Inspector, Robert Rawlinson.
35 Bill Luckin, Pollution and Control (Bristol, 1986), pp. 164–7. Acid Rain and the Rise of the Environmental Chemist in Britain 14 As with the updated Alkali Acts, the Rivers Pollution Act of 1876 stipulated that treating industrial effluents and urban sewage before discharge required the best practical means. With Angus Smith’s investigations on town sanitation and sewage, and with his success in the Alkali Inspectorate working with industrialists to control pollution and enforce regulations, few were surprised when he was appointed as Inspector to work alongside the existing Inspector, Robert Rawlinson.