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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 7.djvu/377

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this end (the improvement of navigation as a science) or to secure continued time-measurements, magnetic data, and other information for the guidance of seamen.—Contemporary Review.



THE subject of this sketch is a typical example of that remarkable class of men who achieve great eminence, both in business and in science; he is a very distinguished scientific investigator, having-not only made his name a household word in all chemical laboratories where galvanic batteries are used, but he was one of the early pioneers in establishing the grand doctrine of the correlation of forces and is known and esteemed throughout the scientific world for his share in this great movement. He has also been a hard-working professional lawyer, forcing his way to legal distinction among his countrymen, becoming queen's counsel, until at length, passing from the bar to the bench, and taking a distinguished rank among the judges of England.

William Robert Grove was born in Swansea, Wales, July 14, 1811, and received his early education at the Swansea Grammar-School. His father, who was a magistrate, intended him for the Church, and he was sent to Oxford in 1830, completing his university term with honor in 1833. He had conscientious scruples that were opposed to his father's desires, and he adopted the profession of the law. He also married about this time, and quitted England for a while to travel on the Continent for his health. In this leisure he took to the reading and study of electricity, soon followed by original experiments and important discoveries in this branch of science. In 1835 he became Professor of Natural Philosophy in the London Institution, a place which he held for five years. His scientific researches have been mostly in the field of electricity, and his contributions on this subject have been numerous in the "Philosophical Transactions," the Philosophical Magazine and other journals of science. In 1839 we find him communicating to the Académie des Sciences de Paris the fact that if a positive electrode be immersed, half in water, and the other half in a tube of hydrogen, and a negative electrode in water and oxygen, the water ascends in the tubes, the galvanometer is deflected, and the water is decomposed and recomposed by voltaic action. This same year he communicated to the French Academy his invention of the galvanic battery, now bearing his name, in which platinum is substituted for copper, and nitric acid for sulphuric. He also published in this connection a paper on the "Inaction of Amalgamated Zinc in Acidulated Water," in which this phenomenon was first satisfactorily explained. About the same time he discovered that if