Thomson - Encyclopedia




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THOMSON (1810-1864), who subsequently became medical officer of health for St Marylebone, London, and after 1846 he ceased active work altogether. He was a most energetic professor, and, according to his colleague, but no relation, Lord Kelvin (Sir William Thomson), founded the first chemical laboratory for students at a time when practical work was scarcely recognized as a necessary part of chemical education. He did much to spread a knowledge of Dalton's atomic theory, and carried out many experiments in its support, but his strong predilections in favour of Prout's hypothesis tended to vitiate his results, many of which were sharply criticized by J. J. Berzelius and other chemists. In addition to various textbooks he published a History of Chemistry (1830-1831) which has provided material for many chemical biographers, but which, although it reads very plausibly, cannot be regarded as an authority of unimpeachable accuracy. His eldest son, Thomas Thomson (1817-1878) graduated as M.D. at Glasgow in 1839, accompanied Sir J. D. Hooker on his travels in Sikkim in 1850, and collaborated with him in publishing his Flora indica in 1855 and in 1854 was appointed superintendent of the botanic gardens at Calcutta, also acting as professor of botany at the Calcutta medical college.

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