Lyon Playfair, 1st Baron Playfair

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Lyon Playfair, 1st Baron Playfair

Lyon Playfair, 1st Baron Playfair (born May 1, 1818 in Chunar or Meerut , † May 29, 1898 in South Kensington ) was a British chemist and politician .

Live and act

He was the second son of the Scottish doctor George Playfair (1782-1846). He was born in Bengal , British India , where his father was Chief Inspector General of the local hospitals at the time.

Playfair studied medicine and chemistry at the University of St Andrews and at the University of Giessen , including with Justus von Liebig . In 1843 he became professor of chemistry at the Royal Institution in Manchester . Together with Robert Bunsen , he examined the gases escaping from English blast furnaces , which shortly afterwards led to the construction of effective wind heaters . Playfair was Professor of Chemistry in Edinburgh from 1858 to 1868 . His students included Edward Frankland , James Dewar and Adolph Wilhelm Hermann Kolbe .

In October 1845, Robert Peel , the British Prime Minister, sent Playfair together with the botanist Lindley to Ireland to investigate the famine there , the potato rot and the effects of the Corn Laws . He advised Prince Albert on the use of feces and in 1851 on the preparation of the London World's Fair. On his behalf, he also prepared the construction of the South Kensington Museum and helped found the British Royal College of Sciences. Since 1848 he was a member ( Fellow ) of the Royal Society . In 1851 he was accepted as a companion in the Order of the Bath . In 1859 he became a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh .

In 1868 Playfair went into politics, he was a member of the Liberal Party and was from 1868 to 1885 as a member of the Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews and from 1885 to 1892 as a member of the House of Commons for Leeds South . From 1873 to 1874 he held the post of Postmaster General and from 1880 to 1883 he was Speaker of the House of Commons . In 1883 he was knighted as Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath. On September 3, 1892 he was raised to hereditary peer as Baron Playfair , of St Andrews in the County of Fife . He left the House of Commons and became a member of the House of Lords . In 1895 he was raised to the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath.

The Playfair encryption method , invented by Charles Wheatstone in 1854, recommended Lyon Playfair for use by the British military. He and his friend Wheatstone had previously checked and improved these procedures.

Baron Playfair died on May 29, 1898 in South Kensington.

Marriages and offspring

In his first marriage he married Margaret Eliza Oakes († 1855) in 1846. He had two children with her:

In his second marriage he married Jean Ann Millington († 1877) in 1857. With her he had a daughter:

  • Hon. Ethel Mary Lyon Playfair (* 1862), ⚭ Major Frederick William Bloomfield.

In 1878 he married Edith Russell in his third marriage. The marriage remained childless.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Graeme JN Gooday: Playfair, Lyon, first Baron Playfair (1818-1898). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2008 accessed 8 Nov 2013
  2. ^ WP Doyle: Lyon Playfair (1818-1898). In: About Us> History> Professors> Lyon Playfair. The University of Edinburgh, accessed March 28, 2019 .
  3. ^ Robert Bunsen, Lyon Playfair: Investigations on the process of the English pig iron preparation . In: Otto Linné Erdmann, Richard Felix Marchand (Hrsg.): Journal for practical chemistry . tape 42 , no. 1 . Johann Ambrosius Barth, Leipzig 1847, p. 145–188, 257–275 and 385–400 , doi : 10.1002 / prac.18470420123 ( 1st part online , 2nd part online doi: 10.1002 / prac.18470420136 , 3rd part online , doi: 10.1002 / prac.18470420153 ) .
  4. ^ Fellows Directory. Biographical Index: Former RSE Fellows 1783–2002. (PDF file) Royal Society of Edinburgh, accessed March 30, 2020 .
predecessor Office successor
New title created Baron Playfair
George Playfair