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Robert Rogers was a chemist, physician, and inventor who studied the nature of gases and their absorption by liquids, the properties of carbon-containing minerals such as graphite and diamonds, and who consulted the government on industrial processes related to precious metals.
Rogers earned his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1836. Soon after, he began practicing medicine, but also studied cellular respiration and the control of gas and liquid diffusion by mammalian and plant tissues. Rogers decided to stop his medical practice so that he could focus on his chemistry research.
From 1836 to 1842, Rogers served as chemist to the first Geologic Survey of Pennsylvania. When he returned, he became a professor of chemistry at the University of Virginia. Rogers later moved to the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania and in 1856 he became dean of the medical faculty. In 1877 he moved to a similar position at Jefferson Medical College.
In addition to being an original member of the National Academy of Sciences, Rogers helped to organize the Association of American Geologists and Naturalists, which was renamed as the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1847. He was also a member of the American Medical Association and the American Philosophical Society.