Smithson Tennant

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Smithson Tennant (November 30, 1761 - February 22, 1815) was an English chemist.

Tennant is best known for his discovery of the elements iridium and osmium, which he found in the residues from the solution of platinum ores in 1804. He also contributed to the proof of the identity of diamond and charcoal. The mineral Tennantite is named after him.

Tennant was born in Selby in Yorkshire. He began to study medicine at Edinburgh in 1781, but in a few months moved to Cambridge, where he devoted himself to botany and chemistry. He graduated M.D. at Cambridge in 1790, and about the same time purchased an estate near Cheddar, where he carried out agricultural experiments. He was appointed professor of chemistry at Cambridge in 1813, but lived to deliver only one course of lectures, being killed near Boulogne by the fall of a bridge over which he was riding.


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