Black, Joseph

August 26, 2010, 5:12 pm

Joseph Black (1728 – 1799), a French-born Scottish chemist noted for his fundamental work on latent heat and specific heat as well as his discovery of carbon dioxide. Black’s experiments in 1754 at the University of Glasgow involved the first careful gravimetric (weight) measurements on changes brought about when heating magnesia alba (with the release of CO2) and reacting the products with acids or alkalis. This foreshadowed Lavoisier's work and helped lay the foundation for modern chemistry. It has been suggested that Black may have directly influenced James Watt’s work on steam engines with his identification of the latent heat of fusion and vaporization. Black also found that the same amount of heat could produce different temperature changes in different bodies. The change in temperature for a given amount of heat is now known as specific heat.

Further Reading
Joseph Black, M.D., Lecturer in Chemistry (Glasgow University)



Cleveland, C. (2010). Black, Joseph. Retrieved from


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