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British Industrial History

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Alexander William Williamson

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Professor Alexander William Williamson, (1824-1904) was an English chemist and is best known today for the Williamson ether synthesis.

President British Association.

1824 May 1st. Born at Wandsworth the son of (?) and his wife Antonin.

His father was a clerk in the East India Company in London and after his retirement in 1840 the family lived on the continent where Alexander was educated. His father is not shown in the 1851 census and his mother Antonin is listed as head of the house although not shown as a widow.

After working under Leopold Gmelin at Heidelberg, and Justus von Liebig at Gießen, Williamson spent three years in Paris studying higher mathematics under Comte.

In 1849, Williamson was appointed professor of practical chemistry at University College, London, and from 1855 until his retirement in 1887 he also held the professorship of chemistry.

In 1855 he married Emma Catherine Key, the third daughter of Thomas Hewitt Key. His only daughter Alice Maud Williamson married the physicist Alfred Henry Fison (1857–1923).

1861 Alexander W. Williamson, Ph.D. University College, Gower Green, London.[1]

1863-65 and 1869-71 President of the Chemical Society. [2]

1904 May 6th. Died at Hindhead, Surrey, England, and was buried at Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey

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