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Joseph Black Papers

Date range: 1768-1796.

Joseph Black (1728-1799) is credited with several major contributions to chemical science, in particular the rediscovery of "fixed air" (carbon dioxide), the discovery of the bicarbonates, and the concepts of latent and specific heat. He thus laid the foundations of modern thermal science, and influenced James Watt in the development of the steam engine.

He held chairs in medicine and chemistry at Glasgow (1756-66) and Edinburgh (1766-97), and was the first physician to George III in Scotland.

The Library holds some fifteen volumes containing notes of chemistry lectures delivered by Black.

Two volumes were compiled by William Henry (1774-1836), the Manchester physician and chemist, some of whose own lecture notes are also preserved.

Finding aids

Recorded in unpublished card catalogue of University MSS.


The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library