- Joseph Black
name = Joseph Black
image_width = 180px
caption = Mezzotint engraving after Sir
April 16, 1728
December 6, 1799
nationality = Scottish
Medicine, physics, and chemistry
Latent heat, specific heat, and the discovery of carbon dioxide
Joseph Black (
April 16, 1728– December 6, 1799[DSB |first=Henry |last=Guerlac |title=Black, Joseph
volume=2 |pages=173-183] ) was a Scottish
physicistand chemist, known for his discoveries of latent heat, specific heat, and carbon dioxide. He was a founder of thermochemistrywho developed many pre- thermodynamicsconcepts, such as heat capacity, and was the mentor for James Watt. The chemistrybuildings at both the University of Edinburghand the University of Glasgoware named after him.
Black was born in
Bordeaux, France, where his father, who was from Belfast, Ireland, was engaged in the wine trade. His mother was from Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and her family was also in the wine business. Joseph had twelve brothers and sisters. [cite book | author = Lenard, Philipp | title = Great Men of Science | year = 1950 | publisher = G. Bell and Sons | location = London | pages = 129 | isbn = 0-8369-1614-X (Translated from the second German edition)] He entered the University of Glasgowwhen he was eighteen years old, and four years later he went to Edinburghto further his medical studies.
While at the University of Edinburgh, Black studied properties of carbon dioxide (CO2). [cite web | last = | first = | title = Experiments upon Magnesia Alba, Quick-Lime, and some other Alkaline Substances | work = | publisher = | date = | url = http://web.lemoyne.edu/~giunta/black.html| format = | accessdate = 2008-03-08] . One of his experiments involved placing a flame and mice into the carbon dioxide. Because both entities died, Black concluded that the air was not breathable. He named it 'fixed air' in 1754. In 1756 Black described how
carbonates become more alkaline when they lose carbon dioxide, whereas the taking-up of carbon dioxide reconverts them. He was the first person to isolate carbon dioxide in a perfectly pure state. This was an important step in the history of chemistry as it helped people to realize that air was not an element, but rather was composed of many different things. Black's work also aided in discrediting the belief in a fiery principle called phlogiston.
In about 1750, Joseph Black developed the
analytical balancebased on a light-weight beam balanced on a wedge-shaped fulcrum. Each arm carried a pan on which the sample or standard weights was placed. It far exceeded the accuracy of any other balance of the time and became an important scientific instrument in most chemistry laboratories. [cite web | last = | first = | title = Equal Arm Analytical Balances | work = | publisher = | date = | url = http://history.nih.gov/exhibits/balances/index.html | format = | accessdate = 2008-03-08] .
In 1757, he was appointed Regius Professor of the Practice of Medicine at the
University of Glasgow.
In 1761, wrote Ogg, Black deduced that the application of heat to ice does not cause its immediate liquefaction, rather the ice absorbed the heat without a rise in
temperature. [cite book | author = Ogg, David | title = Europe of the Ancien Regime: 1715-1783 | year = 1965 | publisher = Harper & Row | location = | pages = | isbn = ] Additionally, Black observed that the application of heat to boiling water does not result in immediate evaporation. From these observations, he concluded that the heat applied must have combined with the ice particles and boiling water and become latent. In espousing his theory of latent heat, said Ogg, the new subject of thermal science commenced. [cite book | author = Ogg, David | title = Europe of the Ancien Regime: 1715-1783 | year = 1965 | publisher = Harper & Row | location = | pages = 117 and 283 | isbn = ] Black's theory of latent heat was one of his more-important scientific contribution, and one on which his scientific fame chiefly rests. He also showed that different substances have different specific heats. This all proved important not only in the development of abstract science but in the development of the steam engine. [cite book | author = Ogg, David | title = Europe of the Ancien Regime: 1715-1783 | year = 1965 | publisher = Harper & Row | location = | pages = 283 | isbn = ]
Black was a friend of
James Watt, who first began his studies on steam power at Glasgow University in 1761. Black also was a member of the Poker Cluband associated with David Hume, Adam Smith, and the literati of the Scottish Enlightenment. Black never married. He died in Edinburgh at the age of 71, and is buried there in Greyfriars Kirkyard.
Timeline of hydrogen technologies
publication-date=1957 Jun 8
title=JOSEPH BLACK and the discovery of carbon dioxide.
periodical=Med. J. Aust.
publication-date=1966 Apr 25
title=Joseph Black--rediscoverer of fixed air.
title=Irish links of the multinational chemist Joseph Black (1728-1799).
periodical=Journal of the Irish Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons
title=Joseph Black (1728-1799): an early adept in quantification and interpretation.
periodical=Journal of medical biography
title=Joseph Black (1728-1799): Scottish physician and chemist.
title= [Joseph Black (1728-1799) and the original chemical experimental research in biology and medicine.]
title=James Hutton, Joseph Black and the chemical theory of heat.
title=Joseph Black matriculates: medicine and magnesia alba.
periodical=Journal of the history of medicine and allied sciences
title=Joseph Black and the identification of carbon dioxide.
publication-date=1953 Nov 1
title=Joseph Black and some aspects of medicine in the eighteenth century.
periodical=The Ulster medical journal
title=Joseph Black and fixed air. II.
periodical=Isis; an international review devoted to the history of science and its cultural influences
title=A reluctant catalyst: Joseph Black and the Edinburgh reception of Lavoisier's chemistry.
* [http://web.lemoyne.edu/~giunta/black.html Black's experiments on Alkaline Substances]
* [http://www.gashe.ac.uk:443/public_docs/isaar/P0308.html Joseph Black] – Biographical information
* [http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Joseph_Black Joseph Black] – "Encyclopedia Britannica", 1911
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