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Samuel Morison Brown


1817 - 1856

Chemist and author. Born at Haddington, the fourth son of Samuel Brown (1779 - 1839), the founder of 'itinerating libraries' and great-grandson of Rev. John Brown (1722-87), author of the Self-Interpreting Bible. He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, continuing his education in Berlin and St. Petersburg. Brown put forward a theory that chemical elements could be derived from a single generic atom. He attempted to convert carbon into silicon, but failed. This unlikely experiment ensured he was unsuccessful in his application for the Chair of Chemistry at Edinburgh which was vacant in 1843. Brown was a friend of another well-known native of Haddington, Samuel Smiles (1812 - 1904).

His publications include a tragedy, Galileo Galilei (1850), Lectures on the Atomic Theory (two volumes, 1850) and Essays Scientific and Literary (1858).

Brown died in Edinburgh.


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