Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/420

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acquired a fondness for science. The beginnings of the application of electricity to every-day life were manifesting themselves in the development of telegraphy under the direction of Samuel Finley Breese Morse. The wonderful richness of the Lake Superior region in mineral wealth had just been made known and the first copper mines opened, revealing almost pure metallic copper to the astounded world. It was also while Joy was a student at Harvard that Louis Agassiz gave his first course of lectures before the Lowell Institute in Boston, and it may have been, indeed perhaps was, these lectures that led him to abandon the following of a legal career in order to become a scientist. Moreover, he was happy at this time in meeting Charles T. Jackson, one of the most interesting characters in the history of American chemistry, in whose laboratory, which was early opened to private students, the original researches on the anæsthetic properties of ether are said to have been made.

In 1847 Dr. Jackson was commissioned by Congress to survey the mineral lands of Michigan, and promptly on finishing his course at the law school Joy was invited to become a member of the party, and continued with this expedition until the completion of its work. He then studied for a time in Dr. Jackson's laboratory; but realizing the impossibility of acquiring a thorough training in chemistry in this country, he turned his steps toward the Mecca of that science, and for two years studied in Germany, first under Heinrich Rose in Berlin and then under Friedrich Wöhler in Göttingen, where in 1853 he took the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. For an inaugural thesis the difficult subject of the combination of alcohol radicals with selenium was assigned to him, while at an adjoining desk a similar research pertaining to the tellurium compounds was being carried on by Prof. John W. Mallett, now of the University of Virginia. In after years Prof. Joy frequently related to his classes how that, owing to the offensive odors generated in the preparation of the selenium and tellurium compounds, he and his fellow-student, Mallett, were often the only two who remained at work. These researches were among the earliest contributions to a class of alcohol radicals combined with a metallic base that appeared in chemical literature. After receiving his degree at Göttingen he spent some time at the Sorbonne in Paris, where the brilliant Dumas, then in his prime, lectured on chemistry.

With a scientific training seldom equaled by any young man he returned to America, and was promptly called to the chair of Chemistry in Union College. This place he then held for four years, during part of which time he was assisted by Charles F. Chandler, who later became Professor of Analytical and Applied Chemistry in the School of Mines of Columbia College, and, sub-