A RETIRED research chemist from Altrincham has written a biography on Manchester’s John Dalton, the man who revolutionised science two centuries ago with his Atomic Theory.
Tom Smith launched his memoir last month, after realising that while many books have been written about Dalton’s work and achievements, very little has been written about the man himself.
Dalton was born to Quaker parents in 1766 in West Cumberland, one of three exceptional boys born in a remote part of the Lake District in a six year period.
Two years earlier, Fletcher Christian, who led the mutiny on the Bounty, had been born on a nearby farm – and four years later, the poet William Wordsworth was born three miles away, in Cockermouth.
Tom said: “To many people today, John Dalton is just a name on a Manchester street, but his work is praised as one of the biggest turning points in scientific thought.
“He is a figure of worldwide significance, recognised widely as the ‘father of modern chemistry’.”
He moved to Manchester in 1793 to teach mathematics and philosophy at the New College –now demolished – and remained in the city for the rest of his life.
Tom added: “John Dalton was a man whose ideas did so much to shape our modern world and Manchester remains justly proud of him.
Throughout his life, however, he returned every year to his beloved lakes and fells, where his heart always belonged.”