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Portrait of Sir William Ramsay

Portrait of Sir William Ramsay

H418/0050

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Portrait of Sir William Ramsay (1852-1916), Scottish chemist and Nobel Laureate. Ramsay studied in Germany under Bunsen, obtaining his PhD in 1873. After years of teaching, he started research into nitrogen in 1892. Nitrogen obtained from the air was shown to be heavier than that obtained from chemicals. In 1894 Ramsay isolated a new gas from an air-derived nitrogen sample, and identified it using a spectroscope. It was a totally inert element which he called argon. Over the next years he isolated and identified most of the other inert gases: helium, neon, krypton and xenon. For this work, Ramsay was knighted in 1902 and won the 1904 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

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