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Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie, 2nd Baronet

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Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie, 2nd Baronet

Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie, 2nd Baronet
Coat of arms of Sir Benjamin Brodie
Born (1817-03-15)15 March 1817
London, England
Died 24 November 1880(1880-11-24) (aged 63)
St Clare, Isle of Wight, England
Nationality British
Fields Physical chemistry
Institutions University of Oxford
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
University of Giessen
Doctoral advisor Justus von Liebig[1]
Doctoral students Augustus George Vernon Harcourt[1]
Known for Analysis of beeswax, work on peroxides
Notable awards Royal Medal (1850)

Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie, 2nd Baronet FRS (5 February 1817 – 24 November 1880) was an English chemist.

Brodie was the son of Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie, 1st Baronet, and his wife Anne (Née Sellon), and was educated at Harrow and Balliol College, Oxford. He obtained a second class honours degree in Mathematics in 1838. Because he was an agnostic and would not assent to the Thirty-nine articles, he was refused a MA until 1860.[2] He studied chemistry with Justus von Liebig in Giessen along with Alexander Williamson. At Giessen, he did original analysis of beeswax for which he was given the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1849 and awarded the Royal Medal in 1850.

Brodie did important original work on peroxides in his private laboratory [3] where he taught Nevil Story Maskelyne chemistry. He was secretary of the Chemical Society from 1850–1854 and its president in 1860. However, he opposed the Atomic Theory and proposed in 1866 his Calculus of Chemical Operations[4] as a non-atomic alternative to the Atomic Theory. He saw an advertisement for wooden balls and wire for building models of molecules. This provoked him into describing atomic theory as a "thoroughly materialistic bit of joiner's work".[5]

Despite opposition from some theological fellows, he was elected to the Aldrichan Chair (later renamed as the Waynflete Professor of Chemistry) at Oxford University 1855 to 1872.

Brodie married Philothea Margaret, daughter of John Vincent Thompson, in 1848. They had one son and five daughters. He died in November 1882, aged 63, and was succeeded in the baronet by his only son Benjamin. Lady Brodie died in 1882.



Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Benjamin Collins Brodie
(of Boxford)

Succeeded by
Benjamin Vincent Sellon Brodie

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