Guess the Chemist (12)

  • DOI: 10.1002/chemv.201200142
  • Author: ChemViews
  • Published Date: 04 December 2012
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
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This person was a pioneer in many areas. They recognized the link between illness and the pollution of air, water and food, and pioneered the use of chemical analysis to test the purity of these substances. In 1884, this person was hired as an instructor at the first public-health laboratory in America, focusing on sanitary chemistry.


This person’s reputation as a pre-eminent water scientist led to them being involved with the first survey in America designed to track the most significant pollutant from human activity at the time – chlorine from salt used in food and industry. The size of the survey was unprecedented, with over 20,000 samples being collected and analyzed by this chemist and their team. The survey resulted in a map showing the extent of man-made pollution in the area. It has become the template for conducting similar surveys around the world. The survey also resulted in the first water-quality standards in the country.


By applying scientific principles to previously unrelated areas, i.e., the relationship between human health and the environment and to domestic topics, this person created two new disciplines – ecology and home economics, respectively.


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