Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 26.djvu/416

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HENRY ENFIELD ROSCOE, F.R.S., now Sir Henry Roscoe, is a grandson of William Roscoe, of Liverpool, the distinguished merchant-historian, and a son of Henry Roscoe, Esq., barrister-at-law, and was born January 7, 1833. He was educated at Liverpool High School, University College, London, and Heidelberg. He was appointed Professor of Chemistry at Owens College, Victoria University, Manchester, a chair which he has held with distinguished honor to himself and credit to English science, in 1858, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1863. His life has been marked by a bright line of investigations in chemistry from which have been derived material additions to the scope and exactness of the science; by numerous addresses before both scientific and popular audiences, and publications in which the breadth and accuracy of his thought are well matched by the clearness and frequent pungency of its expression, and the style is always adapted to the audience the effort is intended to reach; by labors to encourage original scientific research and the presentation of the most exalted aims as its object; and by his activity in the promotion of well-considered practical efforts for the diffusion of scientific knowledge among the people.

The nature of the scientific labors by which he is chiefly distinguished is set forth in the award of the Royal medal made to him by the Royal Society in 1873, which was "for his various chemical researches, more especially for his investigations of the chemical action of light, and of the combinations of vanadium."

The researches on the chemical action of light here spoken of were carried on by him and Bunsen together; and he most modestly refers to them in a biography of Bunsen, published by him in "Nature" of April 28, 1881, as investigations "with the carrying on of which the writer of this article had the great good fortune and pleasure to be concerned, and in which he had full opportunity of admiring Bunsen's untiring activity and wonderful manipulative power."

In the winter of 1866-'67 he started in Manchester a course of thirteen penny scientific lectures for the people, in which he was assisted by Professor Jevons, Dr. Alcock, and Dr. Morgan. The attempt thus made to solve the problem whether the working-men would really appreciate the value of science-instruction when given in a plain but scientific manner, illustrated with diagrams and experiments made on a scale to be seen by a large audience, was highly successful. The lectures were attended by more than four thousand persons of exactly the class for whom they were designed, and they showed themselves interested and appreciative. A syllabus of the chief points of Professor Roscoe's four lectures was printed and given to each person entering