Search the Collection
William Hyde Wollaston (1766-1828), Physiologist, chemist and physicist
Sitter in 8 portraits
Wollaston is famous for having discovered two chemical elements, palladium and rhodium, and for developing a way to process platinum ore. He was educated at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge studying medicine but also chemistry, astronomy and botany. During his time there he became interested in metallurgy. After university he practiced medicine for a few years but then left this field to concentrate on his research interests. In 1800 he entered into a partnership with his university friend, chemist Smithson Tennant. They were attempting to make platinum malleable, so that its properties could be put to practical use. The venture was a success, bringing Wollaston scientific fame as well as a large fortune.
by William Walker