Gilbert, Joseph Henry

b. 1 August 1817 Hull, England
d. 23 December 1901 England
English chemist who co-established the reputation of Rothampsted Experimental Station as at the forefront of agricultural research.
Joseph Gilbert was the son of a congregational minister. His schooling was interrupted by the loss of an eye as the result of a shooting accident, but despite this setback he entered Glasgow University to study analytical chemistry, and then went to University College, London, where he was a fellow student of John Bennet Lawes. During his studies he visited Giessen, Germany, and worked in the laboratory of Justus von Liebig. In 1843, at the age of 26, he was hired as an assistant by Lawes, who was 29 at that time; an unbroken friendship and collaboration existed between the two until Lawes died in 1900. They began a series of experiments on grain production and grew plots under different applications of nitrogen, with control plots that received none at all. Much of the work at Rothampsted was on the nitrogen requirements of plants and how this element became available to them. The grain grown in these experiments was analyzed to determine whether nitrogen input affected grain quality. Gilbert was a methodical worker who by the time of his death had collected together some 50,000 carefully stored and recorded samples.
Principal Honours and Distinctions
Knighted 1893. FRS 1860. Fellow of the Chemistry Society 1841, President 1882–3. President, Chemical Section of the British Association 1880. Sibthorpian Professor of Rural Economy, Oxford University, 1884. Honorary Professor of the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. Honorary member of the Royal Agricultural Society of England 1883. Royal Society Royal Medal 1867 (jointly with Lawes). Society of Arts Albert Gold Medal 1894 (jointly with Lawes). Liebig Foundation of the Royal Bavarian Academy of Science Silver Medal 1893 (jointly with Lawes).

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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