Joseph Black (1728-1799)

Joseph Black (1728-1799)

Chemist and physicist

Joseph Black was born in Bordeaux. His mother was Scottish and his father, a wine merchant, was Irish. He attended university at both Glasgow and Edinburgh from the age of sixteen. He graduated as a doctor of medicine and it was in his thesis that he first described what would later be known as carbon dioxide. His academic career included the posts of professor of anatomy and chemistry at Glasgow University as well as medicine and chemistry at Edinburgh. His discovery of specific and latent heat were greatly to influence his pupil, James Watt.

Death in 1799

Joseph Black was buried on 12 December 1799 in Greyfriars Churchyard. The entry in the Old Parish Register (OPR) for Edinburgh gives his designation as Professor of Chemistry in the University of Edinburgh.

Burial entry for Joseph Black

Burial entry for Joseph Black in the OPR for Edinburgh (39 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 685/1, 98

Testament of Dr Joseph Black

National Records of Scotland, CC8/8/131 pp 1269-1297

View transcript (98 KB PDF)

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