William Augustus Tilden
Sir William Augustus Tilden (15 August 1842 – 11 December 1926) was a British chemist. He discovered that isoprene could be made from turpentine. He was unable to turn this discovery into a way to make commercially viable synthetic rubber.
"Pure and applied chemistry has this week suffered a great loss by the death, which occurred on Saturday, December 11th, of Sir William Augustus Tilden. Sir William was born in London eighty-four years ago. He began his chemical studies with the Pharmaceutical Society and at the Royal College of Chemistry. In 1864 he was appointed demonstrator in chemistry to the Pharmaceutical Society, a post which he held until, in 1872, he became science master at Clifton College. In 1880 he passed from Clifton to Birmingham as Professor of Chemistry and Metallurgy at Mason College, an institution which later provided the nucleus about which Birmingham University grew into its present form. In 1894 he succeeded Sir Edward Thorpe as Professor of Chemistry at the Royal College of Science, a post which he continued to hold until 1909, when he retired as Emeritus Professor of the Imperial College of Science and Technology.
He was president of the Institute of Chemistry in 1891-94 and of the Chemical Society in 1903-5, and was knighted in 1909. As a scientific investigator he achieved his reputation, principally by his studies of the specific heats of metals and their relationship to their atomic weights and by his investgations into the polymerisation of turpentine. His researches in the second-named field definitely established the theoretical possibility of the synthetic manufacture of rubber. In 1908 the Royal Society awarded him the Davy Medal for the Bakerian lecture and other contributions to the study of metallurgical chemistry.
He was the author of many chemical works, several of them of a historical nature."
Sources of Information
- The Engineer 1926/12/17