Classe di Scienze fisiche, matematiche e naturali
Chimico e fisico

Socio corrispondente dal 9 gennaio 1853
Nato a Glasgow il 21 dicembre 1805
Deceduto a Londra il 16 settembre 1869


Thomas Graham was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on December 21, 1805. His father was a prosperous manufacturer who wanted his son to become a minister of the Church of Scotland. Graham entered the University of Glasgow in 1819 at the age of 14. While there, he was strongly influenced by the chemistry lectures of Thomas Thomson to enter the field. After receiving his M.A. at Glasgow in 1826, he worked for two years with Thomas Charles Hope at the University of Edinburgh. He then returned to Glasgow, where he privately taught mathematics and chemistry for one year. In 1829, he became an assistant at a school to teach workingmen science and then in 1830 he became a professor of chemistry at Anderson's College (later the Royal College of Science and Technology) in Glasgow.

In 1834 Graham became a fellow of the Royal Society and three years later moved to London to become professor of chemistry at the recently founded University College (now a part the University of London). In 1841 he helped to found the Chemical Society of London, which was the first national chemistry society setting an example for the formation of similar societies in France (1857), Germany (1867), and the United States (1876). Graham became the first president of the Chemical Society of London. In 1844 with the death of Dalton, Graham was generally acnowledged to be the leading chemist in England. He remained at the University College for 20 years until 1854, when he was appointed master of the mint (a post that Newton had occupied and that ceased to exist at Graham's death.) He remained there until his death on September 16, 1869.

Graham never really overcame a certain nervousness and hesitancy. However, this did not seem to affect his ability as a teacher since he made up for these deficiencies by being conscientious, organized, logical, and accurate. When he became master of the mint, it was generally expected that he would treat the position as a sinecure, but Graham took the position so seriously that he stopped all his research for several years while he organized the operation of the mint. For his work Graham received several awards including the Royal Medal of the Royal Society twice (1837 and 1863), the Copley Medal of the Royal Society (1862), and the Prix Jecker of the Paris Academy of Sciences (1862). In addition his textbook, Elements of Chemistry, was widely used in both England and in Europe.


Biografia tratta dal sito della Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation

Dalla Teca Digitale