J. Lawrence Smith

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J. Lawrence Smith
John Lawrence Smith by Tony Rogue, 1854.jpg
Born (1818-12-17)December 17, 1818
near Charleston, South Carolina
Died October 12, 1883(1883-10-12) (aged 64)
Louisville, Kentucky

John Lawrence Smith (December 17, 1818 – October 12, 1883)[1] was an American chemist, born in Louisville, Kentucky, and educated at the University of Virginia, the Medical College of South Carolina (M.D., 1840), in Germany under Liebig, and in Paris under Pelouze. In 1844 he began the practice of medicine at Charleston and established the Medical and Surgical Journal of South Carolina. Between 1846 and 1850, he investigated the mineral resources of Turkey, for Turkey's government, and he discovered deposits of coal, chrome ore, and the famous emery deposits of Naxos. In Turkey he also discovered liebigite,[2][3] and named it after his German teacher Liebig.

In 1850, while professor of chemistry at the University of Louisiana (now Tulane University), Smith invented the inverted microscope.[4][5] From 1852 to 1854 he was professor of chemistry in the University of Virginia. From 1854 to 1866 he was Chair and Professor of Medical Chemistry and Toxicology at the Medical Department of the University of Louisville.[6] He was president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1872) and of the American Chemical Society (1877). His collection of meteorites was the finest in the United States, and upon his death, he passed it to Harvard. He published Mineralogy and Chemistry, Original Researches (1873; enlarged with biographical sketches, 1884). The J. Lawrence Smith Medal is named in his honor.

  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Thurston, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "article name needed". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  1. Silliman, Benjamin. Memoir of John Lawrence Smith, 1818-1883. April 17, 1884.
  2. STUDIES OF URANIUM MINERALS (II): LIEBIGITE AND URANOTHALLITE, Howard T. Evans, Clifford Frondel (Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Harvard University); 1950.
  3. The crystal structure of Liebigite, K. Mereiter, Mineralogy and Petrology (Volume 30, Number 4 / December 1982), 18 November 1982.
  4. Gage SH (1964). "Microscopy in America". Trans Am Microscopical Soc. 83 (4): 54–55.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Smith JL (1852). "The inverted microscope-a new form of microscope". Am J Sci Arts. 14: 233–241.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Medical Department of the University of Louisville. [Annual Catalogue and Announcement,1854-1866]Silliman, Benjamin Memoir of John Lawrence Smith, 1818-1883. April 17, 1884.

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