By Peter Reed

Robert Angus Smith (1817-1884) used to be a Scottish chemist and a number one investigator into what got here to be often called 'acid rain'. This learn of his operating existence, contextualized via dialogue of his youth, schooling, ideals, relatives, pursuits and affects sheds mild at the evolving realizing of sanitary technology in the course of the 19th century. Born in Glasgow and at the beginning expert for a profession within the Church of Scotland, Smith as a substitute went directly to examine chemistry in Germany lower than Justus von Liebig. On his go back to Manchester within the 1840s, Smith's robust Calvinist religion lead him to advance a powerful obstacle for the insanitary environmental stipulations in Manchester and different business cities in Britain. His appointment as Inspector of the Alkali management in 1863 enabled him to marry his social matters and his paintings as an analytical chemist, and this booklet explores his position 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 damaging chemical nuisances grew to become recognized. This examine of Smith’s lifestyles and paintings presents an enormous heritage to the best way that 'chemical' got here to have such damaging connotations within the century earlier than e-book of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. It additionally deals a desirable perception into the altering panorama of British politics as law and enforcement of the chemical industries got here to be noticeable as beneficial, and is key studying for historians of technology, know-how and within the 19th century, in addition to environmental historians looking history context to the twentieth-century environmental movements.

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