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Daubeny, Charles Giles Bridle

DAUBENY, CHARLES GILES BRIDLE (1793-1867), English chemist, botanist and geologist, was the third son of the Rev. James Daubeny, and was born at Stratton. in Gloucestershire on the nth of February 1795. In 1808 he went to Winchester, and in 1810 he was elected to a demyship at Magdalen College, Oxford, where the lectures of Dr Kidd first awakened in him a desire for the cultivation of natural science. In 1814 he graduated with second-class honours, and in the next year he obtained the prize for the Latin essay. From 1815 to 1818 he studied medicine in London and Edinburgh. He took his M.D. degree atOxford.and was a fellow of the College of Physicians. In 1819, in the course of a tour through France, he made the volcanic district of Auvergne a special study, and his Letters on the Volcanos of Auvergne were published in The Edinburgh Journal, 1820-21. He was elected F.R.S. in 1822. By subsequent journeys in Hungary, Transylvania, Italy, Sicily, France and Germany he extended his knowledge of volcanic phenomena; and in 1826 the results of his observations were given in a work entitled A Description of Active and Extinct Volcanos (2nd ed., 1848). In common with Gay Lussac and Davy, he held subterraneous thermic disturbances to be probably due to the contact of water with metals of the alkalis and alkaline earths. In November 1822 D*ubeny succeeded Dr Kidd as professor of chemistry at Oxford, and retained this post until 1855; and in 1834 he was appointed to the chair of botany, to which was subsequently attached that of rural economy. At the Oxford botanic garden he conducted numerous experiments upon the effect of changes in soil, light and the composition of the atmosphere upon vegetation. In 1 830 he published in the Philosophical Transactions a paper on the iodine and bromine of mineral waters. In the following year appeared his Introduction to the Atomic Theory, which was succeeded by a supplement in 1840, and in 1850 by a second edition. In 1831 Daubeny represented the universities of England at the first meeting of the British Association, which at his request held their next session at Oxford. In 1836 he communicated to the Association a report on the subject of mineral and thermal waters. In 1837 he visited the United States, and acquired there the materials for papers on the thermal springs and the geology of North Ame-ica, read in 1838 before the Ashmolean Society and the British Association. In 1856 he became president of the latter body at its meeting at Cheltenham. In 1841 Daubeny published his Lectures on Agriculture; in 1857 his Lectures on Roman Husbandry; in 1863 Climate: an inquiry into the causes of its differences and into its influence on Vegetable Life; and in 1865 an Essay on the Trees and Shrubs of the Ancients, and a Catalogue of the Trees and Shrubs indigenous to Greece and Italy. His last literary work was the collection of his Miscellanies, published in two volumes, in 1867. In all his undertakings Daubeny was actuated by a practical spirit and a desire for the advancement of knowledge; and his personal influence on his contemporaries was in keeping with the high character of his various literary productions. He died in Oxford on the 12th of December 1867.

See Obituary by John Phillips in Proceedings of Ashmolean Soc., 1868.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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