Kirwan, Richard

Kirwan, Richard (1735-1812)


Kirwan, Richar

18th Century
Born: Cloughballymore, County of Galway (Ireland), 1 August 1733 
Died: Dublin (Ireland), 22 June 1812

Kirwan studied law in the University of Poitiers, then in England and Germany and practised it as a lawyer in London. Much of his chemical research was done in his house in London. He returned in 1787 permanently to Dublin becoming in 1799 President of the Royal Irish Academy. Kirwan drew up the first table of specific heats in 1780 and defended the phlogiston theory supposing phlogiston to be identical with hydrogen. Kirwan’s book on phlogiston was translated into French by Madame Lavoisier with a rebuttal added by her husband. By the middle of the 1790s Kirwan’s publications show that he also had adopted Lavoisier’s views. Kirwan belonged to the leading analytical chemists of his time carrying out accurate analyses of minerals and mineral waters. During his studies on affinity he also determined the equivalent weights of mineral acids and some metals.