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Jackson's ether experiment

Jackson's ether experiment

C017/6670

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Credit

SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Charles Thomas Jackson (1805-1880), American physician, geologist and chemist experimenting on himself with ether in 1841. It is said that after experimenting on the anaesthetic properties of chloroform and nitrous oxide gas his experiments on himself with ether led him to conclude that it would be a suitable anaesthetic for surgical operations. In 1846 Jackson's advice was sought by the dentist Dr William Morton, an ex-student of Jackson. The nature of Morton's request and Jackson's response were the subject of bitter dispute between them and their supporters when Morton claimed credit for the introduction of ether. The discoveries relating to anaesthetics in the United Sates were a major cause of controversy in the 19th century.

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