Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/273

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SKETCH OF JULIUS ADOLPH STÖCKHARDT.

SKETCH OF JULIUS ADOLPH STÖCKHARDT.
By Professor W. O. ATWATER.

A FEW miles from Dresden, in one of the many picturesque regions of Saxony, cozily stowed away at the confluence of three lovely valleys, lies the little village of Tharandt, known to a few pleasure-seekers as a charming summer resort, and to the world at large as the seat of a famous school of forestry and agriculture. On an eminence overlooking the village, and itself overlooked by the picturesque ruin of what was once a hunting-castle of the princes of Saxony, is the house; in the village below are the school, the laboratory, and the experiment station; and hard by are the experimental garden and fields where the subject of our sketch, Julius Adolph Stöckhardt, lives and labors. For nearly forty years he has been engaged, by researches, by lectures, by writing, and by the publishing of journals, in promoting and popularizing the science of chemistry, especially in its applications to the culture of the soil. In carrying science to the people, and in presenting it in such ways that the most learned can not criticise nor the most ignorant fail to understand, that every one who reads or listens shall wish to read or listen more, and that the facts when comprehended may be successfully and profitably applied to practice, few living men are his peers. And, as an author as well as interpreter of researches, Stöckhardt ranks among the ablest of the early leaders in this, the golden age of agricultural chemistry.

He was born at Röhrsdorf, near Meissen, in Saxony, January 4, 1809. After receiving a classical education, he studied pharmacy and the natural sciences for several years, and was graduated in 1833 as an apothecary of the first class. In 1834 he traveled in Belgium, England, and France, then devoted himself to pharmaceutical study and research, and in 1838 received the degree of Ph. D. from the University of Leipsic. He then entered upon the teaching of natural science in Dresden, and afterward in the technological school at Chemnitz, and was also appointed inspector of apothecaries. His rare talent for presenting scientific knowledge of matters usually obscure was soon recognized by both students and citizens, and the remarkable power of critical observation displayed in his writings ("Untersuchung der Zwickauer Steinkohle," 1840; "Ueber Erkennung und Anwendung der Giftfarbe," 1844, etc.) was the occasion of almost innumerable applications for the investigation of commercial problems, and demands for his opinion upon scientific and legal questions. In 1843 he traveled in Belgium and France to perfect himself in technological science. In 1846 he published his "Schule der Chemie," which in