Memoir

Benjamin Silliman, Sr.

August 8, 1779 - November 24, 1864


Election Year: 1863
Membership Type: Member

Graduating from Yale in 1796, Benjamin Silliman Sr. was originally trained as a lawyer before Yale University President Timothy Dwight offered him a position as a professor of chemistry and natural science in 1802. Silliman made contributions to a variety of fields, publishing the first scientific analysis of a meteor, exploring the geology of New Haven and surrounding areas, and identifying the component elements in several minerals. He was, however, best known for his role in communicating scientific discoveries among scientists and among the public at large. In 1818 he founded the American Journal of Science, the premier journal for scientific publication during the nineteenth century and now the longest continually published journal in the United States. He also lectured widely throughout the country on scientific developments. He was a founding member of the National Academy of Sciences.

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