1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Richards, Theodore William

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RICHARDS, THEODORE WILLIAM (1868-), American chemist, son of the artist William Trost Richards (see 23.299), was born at Germantown, Pa., Jan. 31 1868. He was educated at home, at Haverford College (S.B. 1885), Harvard (A.B. 1886; Ph.D. 1888), Göttingen, Leipzig and the Dresden Technical School. After passing through the various grades of promotion he was appointed professor of chemistry at Harvard in 1901 and was made director of the Wolcott Gibbs Memorial Laboratory in 1912. He was best known for his researches on atomic weights, of which he revised over a score, including that of radioactive lead. The results were generally accepted and for his contributions he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1914. He also gave much time to physicochemical investigation, especially concerning electrochemistry and chemical thermodynamics, piezochemistry and surface tension. Of these his contributions to atomic compressibility, to the relation between the change of heat capacity and the change of free and total energy, and to the thermodynamics of amalgams have perhaps been the most noteworthy. In 1907 he was Harvard exchange professor at Berlin, and in 1908 Lowell lecturer. He was president of the American Chemical Society (1914), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1917) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1919). He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and of most of the European academies. He received hon. degrees from Yale, Harvard, Haverford, Pittsburgh, Clark, Pennsylvania, Oxford, Manchester, Christiania, Prague and Berlin. He was awarded the Davy (1910), Faraday (1911), Willard Gibbs (1912), and Franklin (1916) medals. He was made a member of the National Research Council in 1916.