Sir William Ramsay KCB FRS (William Ramsay, Jr.; 2 October 1852 – 23 July 1916) was a Scottish chemist. Ramsay discovered the noble gases. He also helped discover several elements that are on our periodic table today. He received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1904 "in recognition of his services in the discovery of the inert gaseous elements in air" (along with Lord Rayleigh).
Sir William Xavier Ramsay
Ramsay in 1907
|Died||23 July 1916 (aged 63)|
|Alma mater||University of Glasgow (1866-9)|
Anderson's Institution, Glasgow (1869)
University of Tübingen (PhD 1873)
|Known for||Noble gases|
|Awards||Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1904)|
Elliott Cresson Medal (1913)
|Institutions||University of Glasgow (1874-80)|
University College, Bristol (1880–87)
University College London (1887–1913)
|Doctoral advisor||Wilhelm Rudolph Fittig|
|Doctoral students||Edward Charles Cyril Baly|
James Johnston Dobbie
Ramsay was born in Glasgow on 2 October 1852. He was a nephew of the geologist Sir Andrew Ramsay. His father, William, Sr., was a civil engineer. His mother was Catherine Robertson. He studied at Glasgow Academy, at the University of Glasgow and at University of Tübingen in Germany.
On the evening of 19 April 1894 Ramsay was at a lecture given by Lord Rayleigh. Rayleigh had noticed a difference between the density of nitrogen made by chemical synthesis and nitrogen isolated from the air by removal of the other known components. He named the gas responsible for this difference "argon".
He was working with Morris Travers, when he discovered neon, krypton, and xenon. He also isolated helium. In 1910, he also created and characterized radon. In 1904, Ramsay received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Ramsay discovered all six elements that are in the noble gas group on the periodic table.
Ramsay was married to Margaret Buchanan in 1881. They had one daughter, Catherine, and one son, William George. William George died when he was 40.
Ramsay lived in Hazlemere, Buckinghamshire until his death. He died in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire on 23 July 1916 from nasal cancer (nose cancer). He died at the age of 63. He was buried in Hazlemere Parish church.
The Sir William Ramsay School in Hazlemere is named after him.
- Thorburn Burns, D. (2011). "Robert Rattray Tatlock (1837-1934), Public Analyst for Glasgow". Journal of the Association of Public Analysts 39: 38–43. http://www.apajournal.org.uk/Volume_38-39/JAPA_Vol_39_pg_38-43/2011_0038-0043.pdf. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
- Waterston, Charles D; Macmillan Shearer, A (July 2006). Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783-2002: Biographical Index (PDF). II. Edinburgh: The Royal Society of Edinburgh. ISBN 978-0-902198-84-5. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
- "Sir William Ramsay". Nobel Prize.org. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
- W. Ramsay and R. W. Gray (1910). "La densité de l’emanation du radium". C.R. Hebd. Séances Acad. Sci. 151: 126–128. http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k31042/f126.table.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to William Ramsay.|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Ramsay, Sir William.|
- Nobel Lecture The Rare Gases of the Atmosphere from Nobelprize.org website
- Biography Biography from Nobelprize.org website
- Sir William Ramsay School
- Ramsay biography
- Chemical achievers
- Eponymous school
- NNDB Biography
- Web genealogy article on Ramsay
- Chemical genealogy
- victorianweb biography
- chemeducator biography
- 7/23/1904;This Photograph of Sir William Ramsay Was Taken in His Laboratory Specially for the Scientific American