William Hyde Wollaston, British chemist

William Hyde Wollaston, British chemist

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Credit: GARY BROWN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: William Hyde Wollaston (1766-1828). Caricature of the English chemist and physicist William Hyde Wollaston. Wollaston is best known for developing the first physicochemical method for processing platinum ore in practical quantities. In 1803, in the process of testing the device, he discovered the elements palladium and rhodium. His optical work was important as well, where he is remembered for his observations of dark Fraunhofer lines in the solar spectrum (1802), which eventually led to the discovery of the elements in the Sun. He invented the camera lucida (1807), the reflecting goniometer (1809), and the Wollaston prism. The mineral wollastonite is named after him. He also developed the first lens specifically for a camera called Wollaston's meniscus lens, which was designed to improve the image projected by the camera obscura.

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