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Dalton

Dalton, John (1760-1844), physicist and chemist, was born at Manchester of a Quaker family. Educated in Manchester till fifteen years old, he was then sent to Kendal to a school kept by a relative. In 1788 he began his observations in meteorology, besides turning his attention to botany and other scientific subjects. In 1793 he was appointed Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Manchester New College. In 1794 he made researches into the nature of colour blindness, from which he suffered. In 1799 and the following years he supported himself by private tuition and lecturing. He was a member of the Royal Society, and associate of the Academy of Paris. In 1833 he received a pension, and a statue was erected to him in Manchester. Among his works were Meteorological Observations (1793), and a New System of Chemical Philosophy (1808-1810). As a physicist he is chiefly noted for his researches into the properties of elastic fluids, and his exposition of the specific weights of gas, and as a chemist for his elaboration of the atomic theory (q.v.), and his study of gases. A biographer has said of him that he possessed "virtue without ostentation, and religion without fanaticism."