William Higgins

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Higgins, William, a distinguished chemist, nephew of preceding, was born in the County of Sligo. He graduated at Oxford, and doubtless received his instructions from his uncle in the science in which he afterwards became eminent. In 1791 he was appointed chemist to the Apothecaries' Company of Ireland, at what was then considered a high salary — £200. In 1795 he was made Chemist and Librarian to the Royal Dublin Society. He was a man of peculiar habits and devoid of energy. His style of lecturing was very quaint, and a number of laughable anecdotes were long remembered of circumstances the result of this quaintness. His life was singularly uneventful: he died in 1825. W. K. Sullivan gives a full account of his discoveries in chemistry, more especially the law of multiple proportion, in which he is said to have anticipated by many years some of Dalton's greatest achievements. Indeed he may be said to have led the way in the discovery of the atomic theory.

Sources

115. Dublin Quarterly Journal of Medical Science (8). Dublin, 1846-'77.

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