Early laboratory instruction - ACS Publications

foundation of a new Technical College. (Ecole des travaux publique later ... to introduce this method into the School for public projects . . . (Ga- z...
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edited by JOHN H. WOTlZ Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Illinois 62901

Seventy-Five Years in Chemistry: Dr. E. Emmett Reid

Early Laboratory Instruction F e r e n c Szabadvaryl Museum for Science and Technology Budapest, Hungary The history of chemistry literature frequently mentions that laboratory training was first instituted by Justus von Liebig a t the University of Giessen in 1820's. This training received worldwide attention. It is probably true that Giessen was the first university where laboratory instruction was emoloved . and nerfected and that Liebie was a maior figure to publicize this type of education. this approaih is not orieinal with Liebia- since i t was already used in other



ow ever

Before accepting a post in Giessen, Liebig studied for some time a t the &ole Polytechnique in Paris where laboratory experiments were used. However, the system did not originate in Paris either but was actually taken over from the Mining Academ in Selmechanya (then in Hungary, since 1920 Bafiska gtiavnica, Czechoslovakia). T h e French Revolutionary Convention decided on the foundation of a new Technical Colleee. (fieole des travaux publique later ole polytechnipue.) In September 1794 the chemist Fourcroy submitted the proposition in which he stated: So far in France onlv theories of ohvsics and chemistrv larel tauaht. The Minim School of ~ e l m e e h ~ ~ vHunearv iin offerssiriki;le roof Laboratories were opened and supplied with all the materials and

instruments needed to repeat experimentsand to convince students through their own eyes of the phenomenaoccurringwhen bodies are combining. The Committee far Public Welfare thinks it worthwile to introduce this method into the School for Dublic ~roiects... (Gozette Notionale on Moniteur Uniuersel. NO: 8, 0ciidi8.) The Mining School of Selmechinya was founded 1735 and transformed into a Mining Academy of 1763. The 1735 foundation charter of the school pointed out the significance of practical (experimental) training in that the "Scholares" should teach "practice e t manipulando". T h e program of chemical laboratory practice, also dated 1735, contained the complete analytical procedures of all existing chemical knowledge. The Selmechinya Mining School was based on the huge Fugger-Thurzo integrated mining and metallurgy works established in the 15th centurv. .. which was likelv the ereatest industr~alenterprise in Europe ar that tlme. This ~ s c o r r o h ~ ) rated bv the ~ I E U I C S in records accordinz to which about 5 10 6000 workers were on strike in 1526.1n1545 the mining enterprise was taken over by royal management, and the expert employees were trained within the establishment. Such training must have been successful, since this method was later taken over by the Mining School, which was organized and operated along the lines of cbnturies-old tradition. The author is grateful to Professor John H. Wotiz for assistance with correct English usage. Ihde, Aaron J., "The Development of Modern Chemistry," Harper &Row, New York, 1964. pp. 261-70. 794 / Jourml of Chemical Education

Alice D. A. F a y Anderson College Anderson, SC 29621 Dr. E. Emmett Reid (1872-1973), professor of chemistry a t Johns Honkins Universitv from 1914 to 1936, is known in the field of organic sulfur chkmistry for his extensive experimental work but perhaps best known for his longevity as an active chemist. Other men have lived as long, hut few have keot . un. their orofessional interests over so lone.. a soan . of time. lie entered Johns Hopkins a5 3 graduate stu~lcmtin chemiitry in 1891 and vuhliihed his Init scicnt~fichook in I Y X ( 1 1 . He joined the ACS in 1900 and attended his last national meeting in 1969. Dr. Reid was given early retirement from Johns Hopkins in 1936, apparently because of an admitted weakness in theoretical ch&nistry~(2).Rather than give up his interest in academic research, he established a "research circuit" through the southeast, visiting college and university chemistry departments on a regular basis to encourage and advise on oreanic research. He toured bv bus four times a vear. startine yn 1937, and he kept in touccbetween times with volumino& letters (3).Altogether he made, in about fifteen years, over 3Ml visits to 10 or 11colleges and provided a stimulus to academic chemical research in the southeast United States a t a time when it was just beginning (4). Increasing blindness finally kept him a t home in Baltimore, but his interest and correspondence were undiminished. Besides academic research, Dr. Reid continued to be an industrial and government consultant into the 1950's. His main interest after his "retirement" was in writing. He compiled an encyclopedic six-volume work "Organic Chemistry of Bivalent Sulfur," published 195S1966. In 1961 he put out a new edition of his 1924 book "Invitation to Chemical Research" which was translated into Spanish and sold well in South America ( 5 ) . His last book was his autobiography in 1972 (2). "Organic chemistry is the crowning achievement of the human mind," wrote Dr. Reid, and he pursued the subject with vigor for an extraordinary length of time. Literature Cited (1) Reid. E. Emmett, "Chemistry through the Lenguage Barrier:



Johns Hopkins Press,

(2) Reid, E. Emmett,"My First One Hundred Yeam."Chemical PublishingCo., New York,


(3) Personal cammunbation, MI. Max Gergel. I 0 Sampey, J. R.. J CHEM. EDIIC..ZR.82, Il9SIl. I51 Reid. E. Emmett, "lnvitstion to Chemical Research: Palisade, NJ, 1961.

Franklin Publishing Company.

This column is a series of short articles on the less known events that contributed to important and interesting developments in chemistry. Manuscripts, of about two double-spaced, typewritten pages and other inquiries should be addressed to the column editor, Dr. John Wotiz, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Southern Illinois University, Carhandale, Illinois fi2901.