The Correspondence of Joseph Black

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-07-10
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Joseph Black (1728-99) was one of the central figures of the Scottish enlightenment and a friend of Adam Smith and David Hume. Internationally celebrated for the discovery of carbon dioxide and latent and specific heat, he was professor first at Glasgow and then Edinburgh, his legendary excellence as a teacher drawing students from as far away as Russia and America. Over eight hundred items of his correspondence survive, A-L Lavoisier, Adam Smith, James Watt, and Benjamin Rush (a signatory to the American Declaration of Independence) being among his numerous correspondents. This correspondence shows him not only in his scientific milieu but as a physician, as a friend and as the financial mainstay of his numerous brothers. Most important of all it discloses his close links with industry and his analytical work for the new science-based manufacture of glass, tar and iron. Of the viability of such ventures he was, according to a contemporary, the best judge, perhaps, in Europe.

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