Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Hillebrand, William Francis

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HILLEBRAND, William Francis, chemist, b. in Honolulu, Hawaiian islands, 12 Dec. 1853. He was educated at Cornell and Heidelberg, receiving the degree of Ph. D. at the latter institution, after which he studied in the chemical laboratories in the universities in Strasburg and Freiburg. In 1878 he returned to this country, and in 1879 opened an assay office in Leadville, Col., but a year later entered the service of the U. S. geological survey, and in 1880 was sent to Denver to establish a chemical laboratory for the Rocky Mountain division of the survey. For five years he remained in charge of this laboratory, and then was transferred to the chief laboratory in Washington, where he has since remained. His most important chemical researches have been the metallic separation of cerium, lanthanum, and the original didymium, the determination of the specific heats of the above metals, the detection of nitrogen in the various varieties of uraninite, which led to the discovery that the gas was a mixture, the major part of the supposed nitrogen being helium. The results of these researches have been published in “Liebig's Annalen” and “ Poggendorf's Annalen” abroad, and in this country in the “American Journal of Science,” the “Proceedings of the Colorado Scientific Society,” the “American Chemical Journal,” and the “Journal of the American Chemical Society.” Dr. Hillebrand is a member of the American chemical society and other scientific organizations.