Ramsay, William

Ramsay, William (1852-1916)


Ramsay, William (Sir)

19th Century
Born: Glasgow (Scotland), 1852 
Died: High Wycombe (England), 1916

Ramsay studied chemistry at the University of Glasgow (1866) and in Germany under Bunsen (1871). He obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Tübingen and became professor of chemistry at the University College in Bristol (1880) and at the University College in London (1887). Although chiefly interested in organic chemistry he grew intrigued by the problem posed by Rayleigh (1892), that nitrogen obtained from air was denser than that obtained from compounds. Using the spectroscope Ramsay and Rayleigh could identify a new family of chemical elements with valence of zero. They discovered the nobel gases: argon (1894), helium (1895), and neon, krypton and xenon (1898). Ramsay received the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1904, while Rayleigh received the Nobel Prize in physics the same year.

Related Links

Link icon  The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1904
"in recognition of his services in the discovery of the inert gaseous elements in air, and his determination of their place in the periodic system"