Wollaston, William Hyde

Wollaston, William Hyde
SUBJECT AREA: Metallurgy
b. 6 August 1766 East Dereham, Norfolk, England
d. 22 December 1828 London, England
English chemist and metallurgist who discovered palladium and rhodium, pioneer in the fabrication of platinum.
Wollaston qualified in medicine at Cambridge University but gave up his practice in 1800 to devote himself to chemistry and metallurgy, funded from the profits from making malleable platinum. In partnership with Smithson Tennant, a friend from his Cambridge days, he worked on the extraction of platinum by dissolving it in aqua regia. In 1802 he found that in addition to platinum the solution contained a new metal, which he named palladium. Two years later he identified another new metal, rhodium.
Wollaston developed a method of forming platinum by means of powder metallurgy and was the first to produce malleable and ductile platinum on a commercial scale. He produced platinum vessels for sulphuric acid manufacture and scientific apparatus such as crucibles. He devised an elegant method for forming fine platinum wire. He also applied his inventive talents to improving scientific apparatus, including the sextant and microscope and a reflecting goniometer for measuring crystal angles. In 1807 he was appointed Joint Secretary of the Royal Society with Sir Humphry Davy, which entailed a heavy workload and required them to referee all the papers submitted to the Society for publication.
Wollaston's output of platinum began to decline after 1822. Due to ill health he ceased business operations in 1828 and at last made public the details of his secret platinum fabrication process. It was fully described in the Bakerian Lecture he delivered to the Royal Society on 28 November 1828, shortly before his death.
Principal Honours and Distinctions
FRS 1793.
His scientific papers were published in various journals, nearly all listed in the Royal Society Catalogue of Scientific Papers.
Further Reading
There is no good general biography, the best general account being the entry in
Dictionary of Scientific Biography.
D.McDonald, 1960, A History of Platinum from the Earliest Times to the Eighteen- Eighties, London (provides a good discussion of his work on platinum).
M.E.Weeks, 1939, "The discovery of the elements", Journal of Chemical Education : 184–5.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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  • Wollaston,William Hyde — Wol·las·ton (wo͝olʹə stən), William Hyde. 1766 1828. British chemist and physicist who discovered palladium (1803) and rhodium (1804). * * * …   Universalium

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  • WOLLASTON, WILLIAM HYDE —    physicist and chemist, born in Norfolk, grandson of preceding; made extensive discoveries in chemistry and optics; invented the camera lucida and the goniometer …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • William Hyde Wollaston — (* 6. August 1766 in East Dereham (Norfolk, England); † 22. Dezember 1828 in London) war ein englischer Arzt, Physiker und Chemiker. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • William Hyde Wollaston — Pour le philosophe anglais, voir William Wollaston. William Hyde Wollaston William Hyde Wollaston, (6 août 1766 22 décembre 1828) est un physicien et chimiste britannique. Sommaire …   Wikipédia en Français

  • William Hyde Wollaston — W. Hyde Wollaston fue un físico y químico británico (East Dereham, 6 de agosto de 1776 – Londres, 22 de diciembre de 1828). Perfeccionó la pila inventada por el italiano Volta. Nació en el Dereham de este, Norfolk y en 1793 obtuvo el doctorado en …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • William Hyde Wollaston — noun English chemist and physicist who discovered palladium and rhodium and demonstrated that static and current electricity are the same (1766 1828) • Syn: ↑Wollaston • Instance Hypernyms: ↑chemist, ↑physicist …   Useful english dictionary

  • William H. Wollaston — William Hyde Wollaston Pour le philosophe anglais, voir William Wollaston. William Hyde Wollaston William Hyde Wollaston, (6 août 1766 22 décembre 1828) est un physicien et chimiste britannique. So …   Wikipédia en Français

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