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Sir William Tilden, F. R. S. (1842–1926)


SIR WILLIAM AUGUSTUS TILDEN, the centenary of whose birth falls on August 15, is best remembered as an inspiring teacher and for his pioneering work in connexion with scientific teaching in the younger universities of Great Britain. At twenty-two he became a demonstrator in chemistry at the Pharmaceutical Society, at thirty science master at Clifton College, at thirty-six professor of chemistry and metallurgy in Mason College, Birmingham, and at fifty-two he succeeded Sir Edward Thorpe in the chair of chemistry at the Royal College of Science, London. He retired in 1909. Tilden himself wrote some autobiographical notes on his school days and his efforts to qualify as a teacher of science in an article entitled “Progress in Science Teaching”, published in the Jubilee issue of NATURE (Nov. 6, 1919) ; while in his biography of Sir William Ramsay (1918) are to be found accounts of the movement by which Ramsay, Tilden and others in 1889 secured a Government grant of £15,000 for the university colleges of Great Britain. Tilden's books were mainly for the use of teachers and students, but he also wrote some on the history of chemistry. He published some sixty scientific papers. So early as 1884, in his study of the terpenes, he obtained a liquid isoprene which by contact with gaseous hydrochloric acid was partly converted to rubber.

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Sir William Tilden, F. R. S. (1842–1926). Nature 150, 206 (1942).

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