William Hyde Wollaston

William Hyde Wollaston, an English chemist and natural philosopher, was born Aug. 6, 1776.  Wollaston trained as a physician and practiced as one for a few years, but he apparently did not much like medical practice, preferring to tinker with chemical compounds in his...

John William Draper

John William Draper, a British/American physician and chemist, was born May 5, 1811. Draper came to the United States from England in 1832, received a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania, moved to New York University in 1837, and in 1840, was one of the...

Gustavus Hinrichs

Gustavus Detlef Hinrichs (first image), a Danish-American physical chemist and polymath, was born on December 2, 1836. Hinrichs grew up in the Duchy of Holstein, a German-speaking region that was once part of the Holy Roman Empire but had been under Danish rule since...

Joseph Priestley

Joseph Priestley, an English/American, chemist, religious dissenter, and political activist, was born Mar. 13, 1733. Priestley is best known for discovering oxygen in 1774, when he was living and teaching in Birmingham, England. He used a large lens to focus sunlight...