14 Facts About William Ramsay


Sir William Ramsay was a Scottish chemist who discovered the noble gases and received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1904 "in recognition of his services in the discovery of the inert gaseous elements in air" along with his collaborator, John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh, who received the Nobel Prize in Physics that same year for their discovery of argon.


William Ramsay was a nephew of the geologist Sir Andrew Ramsay.


William Ramsay was educated at Glasgow Academy and then apprenticed to Robert Napier, a shipbuilder in Govan.


William Ramsay then undertook practical training with the chemist Thomas Anderson and then went to study in Germany at the University of Tubingen with Wilhelm Rudolph Fittig where his doctoral thesis was entitled Investigations in the Toluic and Nitrotoluic Acids.


William Ramsay went back to Glasgow as Anderson's assistant at Anderson College.


William Ramsay was appointed as Professor of Chemistry at the University College of Bristol in 1879 and married Margaret Buchanan in 1881.


William Ramsay formed pyridine in 1876 from acetylene and hydrogen cyanide in an iron-tube furnace in what was the first synthesis of a heteroaromatic compound.


William Ramsay named this inert gas "argon", from the Greek word meaning "lazy".


William Ramsay was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the 1902 Coronation Honours list published on 26 June 1902, and invested as such by King Edward VII at Buckingham Palace on 24 October 1902.


William Ramsay's standing among scientists led him to become an adviser to the Indian Institute of Science.


William Ramsay suggested Bangalore as the location for the institute.


In 1881, William Ramsay was married to Margaret Johnstone Marshall, daughter of George Stevenson Buchanan.


William Ramsay died in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, on 23 July 1916 from nasal cancer at the age of 63 and was buried in Hazlemere parish church.


In 1923, University College London named its new Chemical Engineering department and seat after William Ramsay, which had been funded by the William Ramsay Memorial Fund.