Portrait of Joseph Black

Famous Scholars in the Faculty of Medicine

Famous Scholars in the Faculty of Medicine

Joseph Black (1728-1799)

Chemist and Physician

As Professor of Medicine at the University of Glasgow, Black's medical research into dyspepsia and bronchial problems (of which he was a sufferer) led to his discovery of carbon dioxide and his subsequent theories about the nature of gases laid down foundations for modern chemistry. His later theories on the concept of latent heat and thermodynamics were utilised by his colleague James Watt to radically improve the efficiency of the steam engine - a crucial step in advancing the Industrial Revolution thereby changing the course of history.191

Image of Joseph Black, with permission of  Glasgow University Archive Service