William Lewis (scientist)

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An eighteenth-century chemical laboratory, from Commercium Philosophico-Technicum by William Lewis

William Lewis FRS (c. 1708 – 1781) was a British chemist and physician.[1] He is known for his writings related to pharmacy and medicine, and for his research into metals.[2]

Life and work[edit]

William Lewis, the son of John (William?) Lewis, a brewer, was born in Richmond, Surrey.[3] He matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford on 17 March 1730. He was graduated B.A. in 1734, and proceeded M.A. 1737, M.B. 1741, and M.D. 1745. He practised as a physician, and in 1746 was living in Dover Street, London, but shortly afterwards moved to Kingston upon Thames. At the opening of the Radcliffe Library in 1749, Lewis delivered the oration. He died in Kingston, Surrey on 21 January 1781 and was buried in Richmond.


Selected writings[edit]

Lewis also published translations of Caspar Neumann's chemical works in 1759 Digital edition and 1773 (Vol. I & Vol. II), and (posthumously) of Hoffman's System of the Practice of Medicine (1783). In 1754 and 1757 he published a series of original papers on platinum: Phil. Trans. R. Soc. 48 (1754) 638–689 (Papers I–IV), Phil. Trans. R. Soc. 50 (1757) 148–155 (Paper V) & Phil. Trans. R. Soc. 50 (1757) 156–166 (Paper VI). In 1767 the Society for the Improvement of Arts, Manufactures, &c., of which he was a founder, awarded him a gold medal for an essay upon 'potashes'.


  1. ^ Main reference: Lee, Sidney, ed. (1893). "Lewis, William (1714-1781)" . Dictionary of National Biography. 33. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  2. ^ * Gibbs, F. W. (1963). "William Lewis and Platina: Bicentenary of the Commercium Philosophico-Technicum". Platinum Metals Review. 7 (2): 66–69.
  3. ^ http://www2.royalsociety.org/DServe/dserve.exe?dsqIni=Dserve.ini&dsqApp=Archive&dsqCmd=Show.tcl&dsqDb=Persons&dsqPos=14&dsqSearch=%28Surname%3D%27lewis%27%29

Further reading[edit]

  • Jungnickel, Christa; McCormmach, Russell (1996). Cavendish. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society. p. 150. ISBN 0-87169-220-1.