Thomas Graham (Glasgow, 21 December 1805-London, 16 September 1869), the son of a prosperous manufacturer, entered in 1819 (aged fourteen) the University of Glasgow and attended the lectures on chemistry of Thomas Thomson, who had a good opinion of him. Graham decided to devote himself to chemistry. His father was bitterly opposed to this for many years, intending that Thomas should become a minister, but the young man received encouragement, and such help as their slender resources would allow, from his mother and sister. He spent two years at Edinburgh in the laboratory of Hope and graduated in 1824. Graham then returned to Glasgow and at first taught mathematics and chemistry in a private laboratory. In 1829 he became assistant in the Mechanics’ Institution and in 1830 he succeeded Ure (see Vol. Ill, p. 722) as professor of chemistry in Anderson’s College (later Royal College of Science and Technology), where he worked on the phosphates and arsenates (1833). He became F.R.S. in 1834. In 1837 he succeeded Turner at University College, London, with the support of Humboldt and Lord Brougham. In 1841 he participated in the formation of the London Chemical Society and became its first president. In 1854 he resigned the professorship at University College and succeeded Sir John Herschel as Master of the Mint, a post which was held at one time by Newton but ceased to exist on Graham’s death.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.