Editorial | Published:

Frederick Guthrie

Nature volume 35, pages 810 | Download Citation



FREDERICK GUTHRIE was born in Bayswater on October 15, 1833, and was the youngest of six children. His father, Alexander Guthrie, was a tailor, carrying on business in New Bond Street, and is said to have been a man of literary taste and ability; that he was a man of cultivation is shown by the education he provided for his children, one of whom, Francis, early distinguished himself at University College, London, and at the London University, as a mathematician, and is now Principal of the South African College, Cape Town. As a boy, Frederick Guthrie was taught privately until his twelfth year by the late Henry Watts, F.R.S.; afterwards he was sent to University College School, then under the head-mastership of Prof. Key, whence he passed into University College, London. There he remained three years, the last two of which were devoted mainly to the study of chemistry, under Profs. Graham and Williamson, and of mathematics under De Morgan, a teacher with whom it was impossible for a young man of Guthrie's power to come into contact without receiving a life-long impress. There also he again came into contact with Watts, who was then principal assistant m Prof. Williamson's laboratory, and an intimate friendship was cemented with his old tutor that remained unbroken till the death of the latter. In the spring of 1854 Guthrie went to Germany to continue his chemical studies, and worked first at Heidelberg, under Bunsen, and then at Marburg, under Kolbe, where he took the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (“summa cum laude”) in 1855, having previously graduated as Bachelor of Arts of the University of London. After returning to England he was appointed, in 1856, assistant to Dr. Frankland, then Professor of Chemistry in Owens College, Manchester. In 1859 he went to Edinburgh as assistant to the late Vice-President of the Council, who had just succeeded Dr. William Gregory as Professor of Chemistry in the Edinburgh University.

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